IWC passes project to protect whales

IWC votes to protect whales forever

The biennial meeting of the 89-nation body passed the host country's "Florianopolis Declaration" which sees whaling as no longer being a necessary economic activity.

While Japan halted commercial whaling in line with a moratorium adopted by the IWC in 1982, it has hunted whales since 1987 for what it calls scientific research purposes.

Japan, which has pushed for an amendment to the ban for years, accuses the IWC of siding with anti-whaling nations rather than trying to reach a compromise between conservationists and whalers.

The measure's "adoption would have been a big step backwards for the IWC, returning us to the bygone days of open commercial whaling instead of becoming a modern conservation body", Ramage said in a statement.

"Science is clear: there are certain species of whales whose population is healthy enough to be harvested sustainably", the Japanese proposal said. They now hunt under a commission provision that allows killing whales for research purposes.

"I would be disappointed if the countries that supported aboriginal whaling earlier went along with this", said Iceland's whaling commissioner Stefan Asmundsson.

Australia's commissioner Nick Gales rejected "the narrative of underlying dysfunction and intolerance" suggested by Japan.

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In 2014 Australia successfully challenged Japan's scientific whaling programme in the International Court of Justice. Japan has since started a different program.

Pro-whaling nations on Tuesday blocked a near two-decade effort to create a South Atlantic haven for the endangered marine mammals, deepening divisions at an already fractious International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil.

The issue has fractured the IWC for decades and there appears to be no room for compromise on either side.

New Zealand's Commissioner Amy Laurenson, speaking in favor of the sanctuary, told the meeting it was about protecting whales, "not about determining the outcome for other areas of the world".

It ran counter to what U.N. Member States agreed with the Sustainable Development Goals, "to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The whaling nations have not moved on".

"It's a bitter disappointment that - in Brazil of all places - the proposal for a South Atlantic whale sanctuary has once again been defeated by Japan and its allies", Grettel Delgadillo, Deputy Director of Humane Society International, said in a statement.

"If this proposal fails, it is likely that the failure will be as much based on the manner in which the proposal was delivered to the commission, its legal irregularities and the unworkable procedural changes it proposed as on differences in fundamental positions on commercial whaling", he said.

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