Loud and clear ‘No’ to coastal whaling deal

A coastal whaling deal for Japan would see many more whales die each year

A coastal whaling deal for Japan would see many more whales die each year

So far over 67,600 people from 63 countries have signed WSPA’s letter calling for ‘no deal on cruelty’ at the 61st meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Members of the Whalewatch network are presenting the letter to governments as IWC member countries decide whether to commit to a process that would allow Japan to resume coastal whaling – putting 750 coastal minke whales in danger over a five year period.

This is being considered as a trade-off to urge Japan to scale back its bogus ‘scientific whaling’ operations.

The vote on coastal whaling will take place at the IWC meeting next week.

Dangerous precedent

However, any reduction would be non-binding and Japan has so far offered to cut its catch by only 29 whales.

As an ominous but inevitable consequence, Korea has announced it will demand the same treatment if Japan is allowed coastal whaling.

“Millions of people all over the world want this cruel and unnecessary practice abolished and yet the IWC is considering implicating itself in this shady deal to harpoon the whaling ban,” said Claire Bass, Marine Mammal Programme Manager, WSPA.

“The IWC is on a very slippery slope, this deal would set an extremely dangerous precedent, paving the way for a global resumption of coastal commercial whaling.”

Whaling nations have killed over 1,700 whales since the moratorium on commercial whaling began, signalling their lack of commitment to the process.

WSPA believes that continuing these one-sided negotiations with Japan would be a waste of the IWC’s time and resources.

Future of the IWC

A growing industry: ethical whale watching respects animal welfare and creates livelihoods

A growing industry: ethical whale watching respects animal welfare and creates livelihoods

© WSPA/Claire Bass

The ‘pro-whale’ non-governmental organisation (NGO) community is united in believing that the IWC has lost its sense of perspective.

Just three countries want to go commercial whaling and yet the current ‘Future of the IWC’ process – under which the Japan deal has been conceived – is almost exclusively focussed on meeting their demands.

Claire Bass continued “It is becoming increasingly clear that the battle against commercial whaling needs to be fought and won in the whaling nations, not in the IWC.”

Meanwhile whale watching, a $1.25 billion a year industry supported in well over half of all IWC members’ countries, is being sidelined.

The 'Future of the IWC' process is also failing to prioritise the Commission's important work to protect whales from an increasing raft of threats including climate change, pollution, ship strikes, and ‘by-catch’ in fishing nets.

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