Calls for tighter controls to protect whales ahead of international meeting in Jersey

Friday, 8 July, 2011
IFAW  (The International Fund for Animal Welfare is calling for changes to the way the International Whaling Commission (IWC) operates to provide increased protection for whales, ahead of the start of the IWC’s meeting in Jersey next week

Following widely reported accusations of corruption surrounding the meetings in recent years, IFAW is calling for greater openness and accountability at IWC to ensure it runs effectively and that the credibility of the forum is safeguarded.

The UK Government has also put forward proposals for this year’s meeting (July 11-14) aimed at improving the transparency and effectiveness of the IWC.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We believe the UK Government’s proposal would help modernise and reform the IWC and bring its procedures in line with other similar organisations. IFAW urges representatives of the 89 member governments of the IWC to do all they can to ensure the proposals are adopted and that the IWC is turned into a genuine conservation body for whales.

“IFAW believes it is unacceptable that whales are still being cruelly harpooned for commercial reasons. Delegates have an opportunity to make positive and lasting change for whales when they meet in Jersey over the next few days and we hope this opportunity will not be missed.”

IFAW’s unique whale research vessel set sail from London on Thursday (7) in a symbolic journey to Jersey to take an anti-whaling message to this year’s IWC meeting.

The state-of-the-art Song of the Whale (SOTW), which uses non-harmful methods to study whales, left St Katharine Docks carrying IFAW’s team of whale experts to the 63rd annual meeting to urge delegates to protect the ban on commercial whaling and remind them that it is not necessary to kill whales to study them.

Before leaving port, SOTW was the focal point for an IFAW hosted event for UK politicians who were invited to tour the boat and hear IFAW’s message of whale protection. Richard Benyon MP, UK Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, also spoke at the event.

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary. There is no humane way to kill a whale and with little appetite for whale meat these days, meat from slaughtered whales frequently lies unused in frozen storage.

Actor John Nettles is backing IFAW’s work to protect whales at the IWC. The stage and screen star, known to millions as DCI Tom Barnaby in ITV’s long-running Midsomer Murders, which he starred in until earlier this year, also has a long association with Jersey, which was the location for BBC’s Bergerac, another hit series in which he played a detective.

He said: “I’m proud to support IFAW’s campaign to protect whales. It is vital that the International Whaling Commission meeting in Jersey adopts the strongest possible level of protection for whales across the world.”

IFAW works around the globe to protect whales from the many threats they face including commercial whaling, man-made ocean noise, pollution, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris and climate change. It promotes responsible whale watching as a humane and sustainable alternative to the cruelty of whaling.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation