Humane Society International Calls for Protections as Whaling Commission Meeting Starts
Humane Society International calls for continued protections of whales in its opening statement, as the 62nd Meeting of the International Whaling Commission gets underway in Agadir, Morocco this week.
The worldwide ban on commercial whaling has been in place for more than two decades, and is in danger of being overturned at Agadir. The IWC is expected to vote on a proposal that would allow a resumption of commercial whaling in exchange for promises by three whaling nations to reduce the numbers of whales they kill each year.
IWC member countries originally adopted the ban in 1982 (implementing it in 1986), to protect whales from extinction after decades of slaughter. This conservation measure was a landmark decision and was achieved in great measure because of the United States’ leadership. For the past two years, however, a small group of IWC parties, including the U.S., has been working on a compromise package which is being portrayed as a way to resolve a dysfunction - within the IWC.
The following is an excerpt from the statement:
“In our view, the IWC should not adopt any proposal that forfeits the enormous gains embodied in the commercial whaling moratorium, the best conservation tool ever enacted to ensure the recovery whale populations and prevent their future decline. Instead of negotiating a deal that would effectively end the moratorium, we would encourage countries that want to ensure the survival of the great whales to employ a broader range of diplomatic tools and engagement.
Conservation-minded countries should be pursuing every available means to convince the whaling nations that now is not the time to increase the pressure on whales with all of the other threats they are facing and the continued lack of recovery of many species and stocks. Whales and other marine mammals are at serious risk in the world today, and we look to the IWC to step up and meet this great and worthy challenge.”