The 40-year-old ban on commercial whaling is in jeopardy after “misleading” decisions were presented at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Portorož, Slovenia.
wildlife protection organizations ocean care And the Humane Society International He said proposals made by pro-whaling nations, including Antigua and Barbuda, could reflect progress made by the International Whaling Commission.
Antigua and Barbuda has introduced a resolution seeking to reopen an official debate on commercial whaling. It has also co-sponsored another resolution with Cambodia, Guinea and Gambia arguing that the practice of fishing can contribute to food security and tackle poverty. Members are expected to vote on the decisions on Tuesday.
Nicholas Entrop, director of international relations at OceanCare, dismissed the concept of sustainable whaling as “ridiculous.” If passed, he said, the Antigua and Barbuda decisions would “reverse” progress in 2018 toward a more conservation-focused IWC.
“Instead of wasting precious time on decade-old debates about fabricated scenarios such as ‘sustainable whaling’ and faulty solutions to food security, the IWC must urgently address the real pressing issues: climate change and plastic pollution,” Entrop said.
At the last meeting of the 88 member states in Brazil in 2018, IWC Japan’s proposal rejected Lifting the ban on commercial whaling, which Tokyo said can be done sustainably. The International Whaling Commission has also reaffirmed its role as an organization focused on conservation, recognizing that threats to whales go beyond fishing, and include ship strikes, bycatch and the climate crisis.
Japan, which for many years tried to lift the ban, left the committee the year after the 2018 meeting and is no longer bound by the restrictions.
Commercial whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries pushed mammals to the brink of extinction.
Wendy Higgins, International Media Director at Humane Society International, said: “People are assuming the whaling ban, which has saved hundreds and thousands of whale lives, is over and the flick is off. But the ban is in danger as long as there are countries in the IWC voting to return to whaling. “.
Higgins called the decision on “sustainable whaling” misleading and said, “I hope that whale-friendly nations will vote against the greatest threat to cetacean conservation we’ve seen in a long time.”
Jerry Mach, commissioner of the International Commission for the Conservation of Horses in the Czech Republic, responsible for coordinating the position of EU member states, said it was “absolutely clear” that the position of the EU and its member states was to “support conservation and fully implement” the moratorium on commercial whaling in the schedule. timeframe and oppose any proposal that could undermine the moratorium or could lead to threats to whale stocks.”
The decisions come as the IWC faces financial difficulties following the departure of Japan, the Covid epidemic and global economic problems. A quarter of the 88 countries that make up the commission have not paid the annual dues, which the International Commission on Women says are “critical” to the continuation of its mandate.
On Monday, the International Commission on Women (IWC) agreed to change existing rules that ban countries in arrears to vote, to reflect the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on developing countries.
Willie Mackenzie, an ocean activist for Greenpeace International, said: “Greenpeace encourages all governments at the meeting to not only protect the whaling trade ban, but also move forward to address all other threats to the remaining whaling world. And dolphins and porpoises. Populations – including climate change, industrial fishing, plastic pollution, and habitat loss.”