By Sharon Livermore
25 October 2016

(IFAW) – Today, at the second day of plenary meetings at the 66th International Whaling Commission in Portorož, Slovenia, a proposal from Latin American countries to form a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary again failed to pass with the needed three-quarters majority vote.

At the conclusion of the voting session, Matt Collis, IFAW IWC Team Leader said,

“It is very disappointing that once again, a proposal for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary has been harpooned. A sanctuary in this region would have provided strong protection to a wide range of whale and dolphin species. A victory for this proposal would have sent a clear signal that the IWC is capable of becoming a truly modern day conservation body for whales instead of an old whalers’ club.

“Non-lethal whale research in this area has already provided valuable data on whales and a sanctuary would have built on this further, giving us far more useful and precise information than has ever been gained from so-called scientific whaling.”

Whales inhabiting the South Atlantic include fin, humpback, blue, sei, minke, right, orca, and sperm whales.

We expect this issue will be raised again at the 67th International Whaling Commission meeting likely to be held in Brazil in 2018.

IWC Meeting: The South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary Harpooned Again

People hold a protest against whaling outside the venue for the 66th International Whaling Commission meeting in Portoroz, Slovenia, on Monday, 24 October 2016. Photo: AFP-JIJI

PORTOROZ, Slovenia, 25 October 2016 (Kyodo) – The International Whaling Commission on Monday opened a five-day meeting in Slovenia, with Japan's resumption of what it calls "research whaling" in the Antarctic Sea in December firmly in the spotlight.

The biennial IWC meeting is the first since Japan restarted its whaling for "research" purposes late last year despite a 2014 international court ruling banning the practice.

Japanese delegates will defend their country's whaling operations, according to Japanese government officials, as anti-whaling nations such as Australia and New Zealand step up their campaigns opposing the practice.

The 88-member economies of the IWC are almost equally divided between pro-whaling and anti-whaling camps, although allegations that countries on both sides of the argument lobby for support from nations with little history of whaling, including some that are landlocked, are common.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in March 2014 that Japan's whale hunts lacked scientific grounds and ordered it to stop.

The decision resulted in a hiatus, but Japan later submitted a new plan that included a drastic cut to its whale catches.

Australia and other members in the anti-whaling bloc have presented to the conference a resolution that would require Japan or any IWC member to get approval from the international whaling body to continue hunting.

Currently, an IWC member can conduct research whaling after it presents its plan to the IWC's Scientific Committee in advance for assessment. [more]

Japan's return to 'research whaling' in spotlight as IWC meeting opens

21 Oct 2016 (AAP) – Australia will push for a permanent end to all forms of whaling at an international meeting in Slovenia.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg will ask the International Whaling Commission to take greater responsibility for how it deals with so-called scientific whaling, a camouflage used by Japanese whalers in the Antarctic Ocean.

"For too long, the commission has deferred responsibility for so-called scientific whaling to its scientific committee," Mr Frydenberg said ahead of travelling to the commission's biennial meeting.

"The commission must be more engaged on this important and divisive issue and form its own conclusions."

The minister plans to build support for two Australian-led resolutions aimed at getting the commission to better deal with "scientific" whaling and bring it more in line with best practice for multilateral treaty bodies.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the global moratorium on commercial whaling and 70 years since the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was made.

At least 45 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises are found in Australian waters and Mr Frydenberg says the government takes seriously its obligations to protect them.

Australia wants 'scientific whaling' ended



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