Australia secures resounding win for whales at U.N. treaty meeting
The U.N. meeting currently underway in The Hague yesterday unequivocally quashed the latest attempts of Japan to undermine the moratorium banning commercial whaling, thanks largely to the strong stance taken by the Australian delegation.
Japan’s proposal to reopen talks regarding the international trade in whale products was put before the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It was a thinly disguised attempt to start rolling back protections for all whale species, with the ultimate aim of bypassing the moratorium on commercial whaling maintained by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since 1986.
“The IWC meeting recently concluded in Anchorage reaffirmed the need to maintain the ban on commercial whaling. This outright rejection of Japan’s proposal following immediately afterwards underlines the international commitment to keeping the moratorium in place and giving all cetaceans the protection they deserve,” said Michael Kennedy, Humane Society International (HSI) Director.
The IWC meeting last week passed a resolution upholding the moratorium and saw Japan withdraw its proposal to overturn the commercial ban specifically for four coastal whaling communities. Mr Kennedy added, “The proposal at the CITES meeting was an opportunity for Japan to salvage some success from this round of international meetings. The international community has stood firm and rejected all attempts to support commercial whaling in any form.”
The overwhelming success for whales at CITES has been in large part due to the commitment and powerful interventions of the Australian delegation to the meeting. “HSI congratulates Australia on leading the way at this critical meeting and securing a resounding victory for marine conservation. Hopefully we will see this strong stance for the whales continue elsewhere - in HSI’s legal battle to stop Japanese whaling in Australian waters, for example, or when President Abe visits Australia in September,” said Mr Kennedy. HSI’s court case continues on July 24th.
The CITES meeting is attended by 171 parties and will continue until June 15th. HSI is attending the meeting as an adviser to the Australian delegation and is also represented as an independent observer