CITES rebuffs Japan’s efforts to reopen whale meat trade

Wednesday, 6 June, 2007
The Hague, Netherlands
Whales scored their second victory in as many weeks today when Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) derailed yet another attempt by Japan to reopen commercial trade in whale products. "This is a big win for the great whales,” said Patrick Ramage, Global Whale Program Manager with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare -
Since 1994, Japan and Norway have regularly submitted proposals to CITES seeking to weaken protection for the great whales.  This year, Japan proposed a full review of the population status of all 13 great whale species by CITES, while Iceland submitted a proposal for review of the fin whale.   Today’s rejection of these proposals by an overwhelming majority of Parties immediately follows losses for Japan, Iceland and Norway at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) held in Anchorage, Alaska from May 28 to May 31.  The IWC also passed a resolution condemning Japan’s so-called “scientific whaling” program by a significant majority of votes.
“Japan's forum shopping tactics and attempts to resuscitate the whale meat trade have been rejected,” said Ramage.   “Today’s decision and the strong conservation majority at last week's IWC meeting signal an emerging global consensus for whale conservation in the 21st century,” Ramage continued.  “Given this meeting’s welcome focus on human livelihoods, it is important to note the tremendous economic benefits that responsible whale watching now brings to coastal communities in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide.  Animals and people both do better when whales are seen and not hurt,” he said.
To learn more about IFAW’s global campaign to protect elephants from commercial trade, visit today.

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