4/23/10 A proposal announced today by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) would, if adopted, for the first time in almost 25 years, endorse the killing of whales in their most precious feeding grounds, the Southern Ocean.
The IWC has had a moratorium on commercial whaling since 1986 but Iceland and Norway have legal objections to the moratorium and Japan continues to conduct commercial whaling using a loophole in the IWC which allows whales to be killed for “scientific purposes.”
In an effort to bring this whaling under IWC’s control, the Chair of the IWC has proposed to give these countries official commercial whaling quotas for the next 10 years.
“The proposed quotas are not set using the IWC’s own scientific methods, but are a result of political bargaining which has little if anything to do with the whales’ themselves,” said Wendy Elliott, Species Program manager, WWF-International. “Setting quotas for commercial whaling based on politics not science would be a step backwards for IWC,” Elliott said.
Furthermore the IWC Chair has proposed commercial whaling quotas for whale species listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered.
If adopted the new proposal would legitimise commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, despite the IWC’s absolute ban on commercial whaling in this area since 1994. The Southern Ocean is the main feeding ground of many whale species such as blue whales, humpback whales and fin whales.
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