Humane Society International Calls on International Whaling Commission to Expand Whale Protection
In an opening statement prepared for the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting, Humane Society International leadership cited the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami as chilling reminders that the IWC has a key role in addressing marine environmental threats now and in the years ahead. The 63rd meeting of the IWC takes place in the Bailiwick of Jersey, part of the British Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands.
In 2010, HSI successfully fought off a proposal by a number of member governments – including the United States - to relax the quarter century old worldwide ban on commercial whaling. This year, with no such threat in play, HSI is pressing the IWC to pursue an expanded agenda to reduce the impacts on the world’s cetacean populations caused by ship strikes, chemical and noise pollution, entanglement, oil spills, radioactive contamination, emerging diseases and climate change. HSI will also support the United Kingdom’s proposal for measures to ensure greater transparency in the operations of the IWC.
“The IWC implemented the ban on commercial whaling in 1986, and it was disappointing last year to see the willingness of some countries such as the US, use it as a bargaining chip in an effort to secure its other priorities,” says Alexia Wellbelove, HSI’s Senior Program Manager. “This year, we will press Australia, the US, and other nations to exert strong leadership in advancing an agenda that extends beyond whaling to the broader range of threats that imperil whales throughout our oceans.”
The following is an excerpt from HSI's statement:
It is no secret that the work of the Commission has been hampered by many difficulties and challenges, over the years. However, the IWC is still the preeminent body for cetacean conservation and the work of the IWC scientific committee is unrivalled. There is a developing consensus within the world community at large, that whaling in the 21st century is biologically and economically unsustainable, and that whales deserve the fullest possible protection. It is certainly clear that whales’ future survival is dependent upon meaningful and enforceable protections right now. We look to the IWC to step up and meet this great and worthy challenge.