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Atlantic whale. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Whaling Commission again refuses proposal to create whale sanctuary

Click on the flag for more information about Brazil BRAZIL
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 01:10 (GMT + 9)

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) again rejected the proposal made in Brazil to create a whale-free zone in the South Atlantic, despite the fact that the initiative had great support.

The Brazilian project was supported by 39 members of the association, 25 against, three abstentions and two countries absent in the vote, which achieved 58.2 per cent of the votes without reaching the 75 per cent necessary for the initiative to be developed, Agency AFP reported.

The rejected proposal was intended to protect several species in danger of extinction, which would make fishing prohibited in the region housing more than 50 species of whales.

Supported by Argentina, Gabon, South Africa and Uruguay, the proposal was debated for the first time in 1998 and has been voted on since the 2001 IWC summit.

Japan, which advocates whaling, voted against the sanctuary project along with the commercial whaling states of Iceland and Norway, as well as with Russia.

The Asian delegation has pushed for a change in the rules of the commission so that decisions are made by simple majority instead of the current three-quarters majority. This would facilitate Japan to end a 32-year moratorium on commercial whaling and reintroduce 'sustainable whaling'.

Costa Rica and other countries, as well as environmental groups, oppose the Japanese proposal, known as "The way forward", which would open commercial hunting, through the creation of a "hunting" committee sustainable whaling "intended to decide even catch quotas. It would be composed of the same countries interested in opening whaling.

For Costa Rica it is a priority to ensure that commercial hunting is not restored and that subsistence hunting quotas are monitored and adhered to rigorous scientific studies, so the efforts of the representation of this country in the meeting will be directed to that point.

Grettel Delgadillo, of the organization Humane Society International (HSI), said the vote was "an authentic sign of bad faith and continuous intrigue of the Japanese bloc, and promises very little for the crucial votes that will come later this week."

Six member countries did not send delegations to the meeting of the IWC, while seven others that did - most of them African - could not vote because they were not up to date in paying their fees.

The result extends nearly two decades of a deadlock between the pro and anti-whale parties of the IWC.

Nicolas Entrup, of the Swiss NGO OceanCare, evoked an action plan to protect whales in the South Atlantic, approved unanimously by the parties to the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) last year, noting that CMS signatories should move forward in establishing a sanctuary without the approval of the IWC.

"A sanctuary in this region would provide strong protection to a wide range of whale and dolphin species," said Patrick Ramage of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

"The non-lethal research of whales in this area has already provided valuable data on whales and a sanctuary would have been built based on this, providing much more useful and accurate information than what has been obtained from the so-called scientific hunt", used by Japan to annihilate this year more than 300 minke whales.

Related articles:

- Japón insiste en levantar la prohibición comercial de la caza de ballenas
- Balleneros japoneses matan 50 ballenas en el área protegida antártica

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