The worldwide whaling moratorium, which has been in place since 1986, may be overturned in the very near future. This June, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will converge at an annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco to decide the fate of the whaling ban.
Three whaling countries—Japan, Norway, and Iceland—continue to hunt whales, defying the global moratorium.
A group of counties, with the United States at the helm, is currently working to negotiate a deal that would allow the three counties to continue whale hunting for the next ten years with quotas. In the proposal, whaling countries must comply to rigorous monitoring of their whaling operations and participate in a whale DNA registry program.
Patrick R. Ramage, Global Whale Program Director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says the proposal is “a whaler’s wish list” and would reward the three countries that refused to comply with the 1986 whaling moratorium. He added, “Rather than negotiate a treaty that brings commercial whaling to an end they have created a system under which it will continue.”
According to IFAW an initial proposed plan, which is set to be released with some compromises in its official form on April 22, would 1) Overturn the global ban on commercial whaling and allowing hunting in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary around Antarctica. 2) Approve whale hunting for commercial purposes by Japan around Antarctica and in the North Pacific. 3) Add new rights for Japan to hunt whales in its coastal waters. 4) Allow continuing whaling by Iceland and Norway in violation of long-agreed scientific procedures and the global whaling ban.
Of course this type of plan would be devastating to creatures that already face more threats today than ever before. From commercial whaling to habitat destruction to climate change thousands of whales are killed yearly.
IFAW is asking for concerned citizens to let their voices be heard by calling the White House comment line with a message in support of whales. More information can be found at ifaw.org.