Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Spear the Whales

Japan makes progress toward resuming the hunt:

The International Whaling Commission voted narrowly in favour of a future return to the managed hunting of whales at its annual meeting on Sunday. The vote, by 33 to 32, was a victory for pro-whaling nations led by Japan.

A worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling has been in place since 1986. Sunday's vote was the first favouring the resumption of whaling that Japan has won.

But the victory is only symbolic. In order to end the moratorium, pro-whaling countries need to secure 75% of votes.

....The motion that was passed was proposed by a group of six Caribbean nations including St Kitts and Nevis. It has no legal force but requests a "normalisation" of the IWC. According to the pro-whalers, this means returning to the commission's original 1946 mandate of regulating whaling rather than preventing it.

"The moratorium, which was clearly intended as a temporary measure, is no longer necessary… many species and stocks of whales are abundant and sustainable whaling is possible," read the motion.

The main justification outlined is that whales are now competing with humans for fish stocks, and threatening "food security for coastal nations".

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