No ‘Rome’ for compromise as future of whaling discussed

Tuesday, 10 March, 2009
(London - 9 March, 2009) – Anti-whaling governments must fight harder than ever for the future of whales as the intersessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) takes place in Rome this week to continue negotiations that may lead to a lifting of the worldwide ban on commercial whaling.

During the meeting, a package deal will be presented which is essentially a one-way compromise that could lift the commercial whaling moratorium, allow the government of Japan to kill endangered species and permit illegal, high seas whaling to continue. 

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Rather than compromising hard-won conservation measures and finding ways for whaling to expand, the IWC and its member governments should be seeking to stop ‘scientific’ whaling, which is illegal under international law, and demanding full compliance with international obligations.

“We expect our Government and all anti-whaling nations to fight for the future of whales and the future of the IWC. They must expose the extreme bad faith the government of Japan continues to demonstrate by threatening to leave the IWC and by continuing to kill whales in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary.”

The international moratorium on commercial whaling needs to be strengthened, not weakened as the world’s whales face more threats than ever before from increased whaling, entanglement in fishing nets, pollution, ship strikes and man-made ocean noise.

Mr Marsland added: “We call on all of those attending the meeting in Rome not to compromise on whale protection and to move towards evolving the IWC into a body that conserves whales.”

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation