The International Whaling Commission, the 88-member government agency responsible for conserving whale stocks, met this week in Morocco. The agency considered lifting a nearly 25-year ban on commercial whaling – a compromise that some proponents argued would save the lives of whales.
In an article in The Express, Cristian Maquieira, the agency’s chairman, said that suspending the moratorium would allow regulators to control whale kills by countries not involved in the ban. Under his proposal, non-participating countries – including Japan, Norway and Iceland – would be allowed to hunt but under strictly monitored quotas.
But according an article in The New York Times, as talks among agency representatives began, whaling nations disagreed on the allowable catch. And some non-whaling nations also disagreed on how to control catches by whaling nations.
While Australia and Latin American nations called to ban all whaling, the U.S. and New Zealand supported negotiations. And although all of the European Union except Denmark opposed whaling, representatives said they were open to compromise. Yasue Funayama, the Japanese whaling commissioner, said the insistence by non-whaling nations to ban all whaling killed the deal.
The Express reported that 2,000 whales are killed each year and since the ban began in 1986, 33,600 have been killed. Countries not participating in the ban use “scientific research” to justify kills. But The Express says more whales in Japan end up as sushi than in laboratories.
“The International Whaling Commission has passed, I think, more than 20 resolutions asking Japan to stop scientific whaling, saying that there is no research value in that,” John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA oceans campaign director, told DCBureau. “We can learn more from whales while they’re alive.”
The New York Times reported that in an attempt to end whale kills in the Southern Ocean, the southern area of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans surrounding Antarctica – a major feeding ground for these mammals, Australia is suing Japan at the International Court of Justice.