Could Commercial Whaling Make a Comeback?
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) was originally created to oversee whale populations in order to help the whaling industry develop. Since its creation, more governments have begun to oppose whaling, which led to the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, and later the creation of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
There are now 88 nations involved. Three of these, Japan, Norway and Iceland, continue to hunt whales.
A small faction of the IWC will be presenting a proposal that would reinstate commercial whaling in an effort to ‘save whales’ this Tuesday through Wedesday to decide how to proceed, the final decision will be made in June.
Proponents within the whaling commission are suggesting commercial whaling be condoned, with the caveat that the total number of whales killed each year decrease.
However, common sense and organizations including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, WSPA International and Greenpeace say otherwise.
“This is a proposal for the long-term conservation of whaling, not whales,” said Patrick Ramage, IFAW’s Whale Program Director. “In return for insignificant, short-term concessions from Japan, Iceland and Norway, the IWC would legalize commercial whaling in the 21st century.”
“This deal would be a sea change in a quarter century of whale conservation. It puts science on hold, the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary on ice, and no restrictions whatsoever on the international trade in whale meat. And after ten years, all bets are off — no more moratorium and much more whaling,” he added.
Aside from undoing decades of work to protect whales, Greenpeace is opposing the ban on the grounds that it would legitimize whaling in the Southern Ocean, set quotas based on political decisions, rather than scientific grounds, which spells disaster, and will dump whaling costs onto taxpayers, whether or not they’re from countries who oppose whaling.
Greenpeace is also concerned that the U.S. will support lifting the ban and is encouraging Obama to make good on his word when, as a presidential candidate, he said he, “will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable.”
If the ban is lifted, thousands of whales will be in danger of dying slow agonizing deaths by exploding harpoon.
“This proposal rewards the bad behaviour of Japan, Norway and Iceland – who have collectively killed over 25,000 whales since the whaling ban took effect. It fails to address the fundamental problem with whaling, that it causes extraordinary suffering. The cruelty of whaling has no place in the 21st Century. We strongly urge the IWC to reject this deal,” said Claire Bass, WSPA’s marine mammal program manager.