Proposal to end commercial whaling rejected by Commission

A proposal to scrap the 25-year moratorium on commercial whaling has been rejected at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a delegate told the German Press Agency dpa on Wednesday.

Greenpeace activists place a banner demanding a stop to whaling. File Photo

Practically all 88 IWC nations gathered for the meeting in the Morrocan resort of Agadir were against the lifting of the ban, which is aimed at protecting the species.

“For this session, the compromise proposal is no longer on the table,” German delegate Gert Lindemann told dpa in a telephone interview.

A moratorium has been in place on commercial whaling since 1986, but three countries circumvent it. Japan claims to whale for “scientific” purposes, while Norway and Iceland claim controversial special rights.

A proposal tabled by IWC chairman Cristian Maquieira would have re-legalized commercial whaling in exchange for the three countries cutting down on the number of whales they capture over the coming decade.

The whaling countries regarded the proposal as too restrictive, while environmentalists and a group of heavyweight anti-whaling countries — Australia, France, Germany and Britain — felt it did not provide a sufficient basis for protecting whales.

“All the governments maintained their positions,” Lindemann said.

The proposal could, however, be debated again after a cooling phase of at least one year, he said.

The meeting in Agadir, which will run through Friday, was now expected to focus on lower-level subjects such as whale sanctuaries, whaling by indigenous peoples and financial questions.


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