International Marine Conservation Conferences - GlobalWhaling and whale conservation can’t go together
(Portoroz, Slovenia – 21 October 2022) – The 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has ended after a chaotic week when pro-whaling nations refused to appear for parts of the meeting to prevent a vote that was likely to approve the establishment of a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.
“The walkout by pro-whaling nations is a sad indictment of the depths they will sink to block whale conservation; they are willing to hold the entire Commission hostage to block a whale sanctuary in a region they don’t even hunt in,” said Matt Collis, Deputy Vice President for Conservation of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Collis was speaking from the Commission in Portoroz, Slovenia.
Yesterday, pro-whaling nations scuppered the proposal for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary—put forward by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, and intended to provide a comprehensive approach to conservation of cetaceans, involving the management of all threats to whales in the region, not just whaling.
Realising that they did not have the votes required to block the proposal, pro-whaling nations left the meeting to break the quorum required for decision-making. The IWC requires a majority of its members to be present in order for it to make decisions (a quorum).
Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Cambodia, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Iceland, Kiribati, Laos, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Nauru, Palau, St Lucia and the Solomon Islands choose to stay away from the meeting until discussions about the Proposal were closed.
The IWC made some progress by taking a number of important decisions including a resolution on plastic pollution and a modest increase of the IWC budget, crucial to prevent the Commission from collapsing under a financial crisis.
Pro-whaling nations sought to undermine conservation actions in a number of ways during the meeting by including a resolution to lift the global whaling moratorium, and refusing to increase contributions sufficiently to prevent damaging budget cuts to the organisation, while at the same time questioning voluntary funding from governments and organisations attempting to make up the shortfall.
“This week we saw the latest attempt by whaling nations and their allies to stall the global tide in favour of whale conservation. This IWC meeting was pushed to the brink by these actions. Pro-whaling nations want to kill whales, and showed they are willing to kill this Commission to do it,” said Collis.
“The IWC conducts vitally important conservation work, including its latest commitment this week on plastic pollution, but it is repeatedly overshadowed by the behaviour of pro-whaling nations.”
IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no humane way to kill a whale. Responsible whale watching offers a humane and economically viable alternative that is better for whales and provides more sustainable livelihoods for people.
Notes to Editors –
IFAW whale experts are attending the meeting and are available for interview.
For more information or to arrange interviews with IFAW’s team at IWC please contact Andreas Dinkelmeyer in Slovenia on mobile +49 (0)7917 507717 or email email@example.com
IWC documents are available here: https://iwc.int/iwc68
About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) - The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org
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