Plans To Legalize Whaling Considered

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23rd February 2010, 11:10am - Views: 1315

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Plans to legalize whaling considered

(Sydney, Australia 23 February 2010) – A draft plan unveiled today proposes to legalize

commercial whaling for the first time since a 1986 moratorium made it illegal to hunt whales for

commercial purposes.

The plan was drafted by member countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an

international body which meets annually to set global policy on whaling and whale conservation. 

Despite the moratorium, three of the IWC’s 88 member countries – Japan, Norway, and Iceland

have continued to hunt whales. 


In recent years, Japan has aggressively recruited votes at the IWC to lift the ban on commercial

whaling. This action has split the IWC between pro-conservation and pro-hunting countries.


Some IWC members believe this near-deadlock is untenable. In response, a subset of countries

has been meeting privately – Santiago (October, 2009); Seattle (December, 2009) and Honolulu

(January, 2010) – to craft a compromise.

M10-SWG4.pdf )

“This is a proposal for the long-term conservation of whaling, not whales,” said Patrick Ramage,

IFAW’s Whale Program Director. “In return for insignificant, short-term concessions from

Japan, Iceland and Norway, the IWC would legalize commercial whaling in the 21st century.”

The draft proposal will now be considered at an IWC working group meeting in St. Pete Beach,

Florida beginning March 2nd. A version of the proposal will then be considered by the full

membership of the IWC at June’s annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco. 

“This deal would be a sea change in a quarter century of whale conservation. It puts science on

hold, the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary on ice, and no restrictions whatsoever on the

international trade in whale meat. And after ten years, all bets are off -- no more moratorium and

much more whaling,” said Ramage.   

“Clearly this package demonstrates that diplomacy is failing the worlds’ whales. We call on

Australia to reject any compromise that legitimizes whaling and instead call on the Government

to deliver on the legal action to stop whaling promised to the Australian people at the last

election,” said Erica Martin, Director IFAW Asia Pacific.

IFAW has brought together leading international law experts over the past five years, to prepare

recommendations for the Australian Government on options for legal action. Reports are

available at

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About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) The International Fund for Animal

Welfare (IFAW) saves animals in crisis around the world. In 15 countries, IFAW and its 1.2

million supporters work passionately to prevent animal suffering.



Erica Martin, IFAW Asia Pacific, 9288 4999 or 0408 881 607

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