IFAW urges conservation over compromise as international whaling meeting begins

Monday, June 23, 2008
(Santiago, Chile – 23 June 2008) - The fate of the world’s whales and the future of the International Whaling Commission hang in the balance as delegates from 81 nations gather today for the start of the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Conservationists worldwide, including experts with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), urged member countries meeting in Santiago, Chile, to reject any compromise which might threaten the global moratorium on commercial whaling. 

The commission has been deadlocked in recent years as the last three nations engaged in whaling for commercial or so-called “scientific” purposes - Japan, Iceland and Norway - have fought to block conservation measures in the forum.

“The IWC agreed to end commercial whaling in 1986,” said Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK. “This is not the time to compromise that decision. Whales face more threats today than at any time in history. IWC member countries need to focus on whale conservation and end commercial whaling once and for all.”

IFAW is supporting moves to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary to offer greater protection to whales.

Since the global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 more than 30,000 whales have been killed for commercial purposes. The IWC has repeatedly passed resolutions calling on Japan to end its scientific whaling programme and international panels of legal experts have questioned the legality of Japanese whaling.

Japan has killed more than 15,000 whales since 1986, most in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary around Antarctica under the guise of “science”. Norway has killed more than 8,000 whales over the same period for commercial reasons. Iceland began so-called scientific whaling in 2003 and announced commercial whaling quotas in 2006 and again in 2008. Earlier this month it was revealed Iceland had shipped whale meat to Japan.

For more information on whaling and how to help protect whales visit www.stopwhaling.co.uk

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Experts

Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
IFAW Japan Representative
IFAW Japan Representative
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales