Mixed week for whales as meeting draws to a close

Mixed week for whales as meeting draws to a close
Friday, 6 July, 2012
Panama City, Panama

This year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) drew to a close today (Friday) after a mixed week for whales.

While much of the agenda at the week-long meeting in Panama City, Panama focussed on conservation issues and threats to whales beyond whaling, delegates also heard the Republic of Korea state its intention to embark on a so-called scientific whaling programme.

Earlier in the week, a proposal for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, held over from last year’s meeting following a walkout by Japan and its pro-whaling bloc, was considered but failed to receive a three quarters majority vote among member countries present. It would have provided greater protection to whales in the region.

Brazil indicated its intention to present the Sanctuary proposal again at the next IWC meeting.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whales Programme, said: “Results this week have been mixed. While the IWC is carrying out good work on whale conservation and the many threats faced by our planet’s whales today, sadly, commercial whaling continues without the IWC doing anything to stop it.

It is vital that the IWC properly addresses the cruel killing of whales for products that nobody needs. With Korea threatening to join Japan, Iceland and Norway in this unnecessary slaughter, decisive action is needed.”

The meeting closed after discussion of a proposal by Monaco for the United Nations to play a more significant role in stopping whaling. It was agreed that a working group would be set up to take the matter forward.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) backs the proposal for UN intervention.

Ramage added: “Elevating discussions on whaling to a more senior diplomatic level would help address the behaviour of whaling countries such as Japan who are intent on using sham science and procedural tactics to circumvent the global moratorium on commercial whaling.”

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’s team in Panama has been providing regular video blogs from the meeting. To view blogs and updates visit www.ifaw.org and for whales images register with www.ifawimages.com

This year’s meeting of the IWC was historic in several ways – it is 30 years since the adoption of the moratorium on commercial whaling and 25 years since Japan’s ‘scientific whaling’ programme began. It was also the last time that delegates met for a full annual meeting before moving to biennial meetings.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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