- Title: IWC fails to reach consensus on whale sanctuary
- Date: 25th October 2016
- Summary: PORTOROZ, SLOVENIA (OCTOBER 25, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLICY MANAGER AT THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE, MATT COLLIS, SAYING: "It's very disappointing that again today pro-whaling nations have blocked the creation of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic. This is an area that's critically important to a wide range of whale species and the sanctuary proposal had widespread support throughout the region, and yet its pro-whaling nations, mostly from the northern hemisphere have blocked it again, as they have now for the last 15 years at the IWC. And we see this as a real disappointment, that the proponents this year have come forward with an improved proposal again, it looked at all sorts of threats to whales in the region, not just whaling, and had a comprehensive management plan for the first time, to address those." DETAIL OF COLLIS' BADGE (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLICY MANAGER AT THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE, MATT COLLIS, SAYING: "There is always the risk that those countries that wish to bring back commercial whaling - we've seen from the past that it devastated so many populations of whales, and that's why the moratorium is still so important, but there are many other threats today to whales, probably more so than ever in their history. So, being caught in fishing gear, whether entangled directly or accidentally caught in other fishing operations..." PROTESTER HOLDING ANTI-WHALING BANNERS IN FRONT OF IWC MEETING VENUE WIDE OF PROTESTERS WITH BANNERS
- Embargoed: 9th November 2016 12:06
- Keywords: whaling sanctuary vote IWC
- Location: PORTOROZ, SLOVENIA/AT SEA
- City: PORTOROZ, SLOVENIA/AT SEA
- Country: Slovenia
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA00355I73NR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) failed to reach a consensus in a vote on a South Atlantic whale sanctuary, strongly lobbied for by five countries in South America and Africa, during a meeting in Slovenia on Tuesday (October 25).
The proposed sanctuary, envisioned to include the vast maritime area between the two continents, was intended to help efforts to tackle non-whaling issues facing whales and other cetacean animals such as dolphins.
Although votes in favour of the sanctuary outnumbered those voting against, the traditionally whaling countries and their supporters led by Japan gave it 24 negative votes, defeating the proposal which needed a three-quarters majority in the 88-country whaling body.
"We know that there are dissenting countries, and I believe that their concerns need to be addressed somehow, and we strongly believe in more dialogue, more understanding, more engagement, so that when we meet in two years in Brazil we will have a Commission that is coalescing around the issues," Brazilian Commissioner at the IWC, Hermano Telles Ribeiro, told reporters after the vote.
The proposed sanctuary, put forward by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Gabon and South Africa, aimed to secure a comprehensive animal protection and conservation framework, and was meant to complement the two sanctuaries already created in the Indian and Southern Oceans.
All three were envisioned as an additional tool for whale protection along with the 1986 global moratorium on whale hunting.
However, Japan is controversially using a provision in the 1986 treaty granting member states the right to engage in "scientific" whaling, a practice which sees Japanese whalers taking several hundred whales every year, many of them in the area covered by the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.
"Of course, Brazil does not accept the practice (of scientific whaling). We think the article should not be there, at all. So the position is clear, there's no doubt that we don't accept it as stated in the treaty. But again, the treaty was in 1946. We are 70 years beyond, so let's engage in conversations and see what is, and if there is common ground for the governance of the IWC," Ribeiro added.
Conservationist groups were disappointed with the vote on Tuesday, especially because the plan, devised in close cooperation with scientists and environmentalists, for the first time included a comprehensive management plan.
"It is very disappointing that again today pro-whaling nations have blocked the creation of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic. This is an area that is critically important to a wide range of whale species and the sanctuary proposal had widespread support throughout the region, and yet pro-whaling nations, mostly from the northern hemisphere have blocked it again, as they have now for the last 15 years at the IWC," said Matt Collis of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Even though the 1986 moratorium on whaling has been praised as one of the biggest success stories of the modern conservationist movement, drastically reducing the number of whales killed every year, sanctuaries are seen as the next step in helping protect whales from other threats to whales and marine life today, such as entanglement, bycatch and pollution.
According to estimates, some 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed every year due to bycatch, being accidentally caught in fishing for other species of marine animals.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None