un conference stands firm against whale trade
Japan’s proposal was seen as an attempt to bypass the moratorium on commercial whaling, maintained by the IWC since 1986. Its rejection today comes on the heels of key victories for whale conservation at the 59th IWC meeting held in Anchorage, Alaska, last week. At the IWC meeting, Japan withdrew a proposal to overturn the commercial whaling ban for four coastal whaling communities after it was unable to secure the votes needed for adoption.
The IWC also passed a resolution that reaffirmed the need to maintain the commercial whaling ban and called on CITES to maintain its restrictions on the whale trade. “The message to Japan and its pro-whaling allies is unequivocal. “Both the IWC and CITES have spoken in favor of whale protection and conservation, “said Kitty Block, director Treaty Law of Humane Society International, “It is clear that there is no international will to resume commercial whaling or international trade in their parts”
However, despite losing by a wide margin today, Japan could still bring its proposal back for reconsideration before the conference ends. “The likelihood that Japan would be successful a second time around is very low given the consistent opposition by CITES Parties to reopening the whale trade”, said Will Travers, CEO of the Born Free Foundation and Chairman of the Species Survival Network. “The more defiantly Japan pushes unwelcome proposals to trade in whales, the more ground they will lose—eventually, we hope, they’ll see sense and give whales a much-needed break.”