IWC denies Japan’s proposal to resume commercial whaling
The 67th International Whaling Commission meeting (IWC) just finished in Brazil. This year, the biannual meeting promised to be heated as two opposing proposals for the future of the IWC were brought to the table, Sea Shepherd said in its press release.
Host country Brazil, together with Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama and Peru proposed the ‘Florianopolis Declaration’, a direct opposition to Japan’s ‘Way Forward’ proposal.
The Florianopolis Declaration consists of changing the role of the IWC from an organization focused on cetacean management of stocks to a cetacean conservation regulation body. It reaffirms the moratorium on commercial whaling and it agrees that the use of lethal research methods is unnecessary.
In contrast, Japan’s Way Forward saw that the moratorium on commercial whaling was already due to end. The proposal advocated for the return of commercial whaling. The moratorium on whaling was established by this same commission in 1986. Despite this, more than 32,000 whales have been killed since then by Japan, Iceland, Norway and Russia (Russia only continued killing whales after the moratorium in 86 and 87).
Japan, Norway and Iceland have never abided by the commission’s restrictions. Iceland was sitting in the plenary in Brazil making their point that commercial whaling should return as a sustainable practice. At the same time, Iceland is currently engaged in the commercial killing of endangered fin whales, including some that are pregnant. Danish Faroe Islands also continued its dolphin and pilot whale hunt as the convention went on and had a representative at the commission.
The Florianopolis Declaration was adopted by majority vote and the Japanese proposal for the return of commercial whaling lost, with 41 votes against 27. Four countries abstained from voting.
Previously, Japan, Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands (Denmark) have shown no respect for any rules or regulations from this or any other regulating body. It is questionable whether they will respect this year’s resolution.
During Japan’s speech after the defeat of their proposal, they threatened to leave the IWC, or to form a separate body that would cater to the countries that want the return of commercial whaling.
Sea Shepherd’s founder Captain Paul Watson, who has spent many years opposing Japan’s “scientific research” programs, stated this morning, “Following yesterday’s most welcome Florianopolis Declaration, this defeat of the Japanese Proposal has made the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission an awesome historical event for the world’s whales.”
“The Florianopolis Declaration states that the purpose of the IWC is the conservation of whales and that the commercial killing of whales is to no longer be up for further discussion,” Captain Watson concluded.