For Immediate Release
Jessica Lass, 310-434-2317
Whale Protections Remain Intact at International Meeting
Ban on Commercial Whaling Upheld, Pro-Whaling Compromise Postponed
AGADIR, Morocco - In a move welcomed by conservationists and pro-whale countries around
the world, the International Whaling Commission today announced that it
would postpone a compromise proposal that would have legalized
commercial whaling. This move is a dramatic turnaround from years of
secret, closed-door negotiations that led to the compromise proposal -- a
proposal that would have sacrificed the quarter-century old ban on
commercial whaling in an attempt to rein in Japan, Iceland and Norway’s
NRDC believes the whaling moratorium to be one of the 20th
century’s most iconic conservation victories. It has saved hundreds of
thousands of whales since it took effect in 1986.
The Commission left the agenda item open, so the compromise
proposal could be revisited later this week. It is more likely that the
Commission will postpone any further discussions of a compromise until
its next plenary meeting.
Following is a statement from Taryn Kiekow, staff attorney
with NRDC’s marine mammal protection program:
“I’m cautiously optimistic. If the pro-whaling compromise is
indeed off the table, that will be a huge victory for the whales
against terrific odds. The Commission tasked with protecting these
mammals has shown great leadership by refusing to adopt a proposal that
could have led to the extinction of some already endangered and
“Still, it is not enough that the decision is delayed. The
International Whaling Commission must reaffirm its dedication to the
preservation and protection of whales around the world. Now is the
time to push for the conservation of whales -- without trading away the
moratorium. Every day marine mammals face new attacks from
entanglement, ship strikes, and pollution. It was reckless for the
Commission to even consider sanctioning their slaughter at this time.”
“What’s being called a ‘compromise’ wasn’t one at all -- it
was a capitulation to pro-whaling interests at the expense of the
whales. It would have legalized commercial whaling without seeking any
end to it. Legitimizing commercial whaling would have rewarded Japan,
Norway, and Iceland -- which have continued to kill tens of thousands of
whales despite the moratorium -- for their years of flagrant defiance
of international law.”
Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed roughly 35,000 whales
since the moratorium was introduced in 1986. In Japan’s case, the
killings have been justified under the guise of “scientific research.”
Prior to the 1986 whaling moratorium, roughly 38,000 whales were killed
annually (between 1945 and 1986), compared with an average of 1,240
whales killed per year after the moratorium (1987 onwards).
For more on the IWC, read Taryn Kiekow's blog from Morocco:
News for the Whales - IWC Delays Whaling "Compromise"
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The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.