July 8, 2012
Whale Hunting Quota Requests Denied At Global Conference
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Japan and Denmark issued threats to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC) after their requests for whale-hunting quotas were denied at the organization's annual meeting, various news outlets reported over the weekend.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Japan had been seeking permission to carry out small-scale whaling in some coastal communities at the conference, which ended Friday, and have said that they will consider withdrawing from the organization should their request continue to be blocked, the wire service said.
"Denmark issued a similar warning after commission rejected its request for a whaling quota for indigenous groups in Greenland. The commission voted 34-25 to reject the request for a quota of 1,300 whales over the next six years," the AP added.
"The commission, however, approved the renewal of bowhead whale quotas for indigenous subsistence whaling in Alaska and Russia and for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean. The six-year extension was approved at the IWC's annual meeting in Panama City," they added.
BBC News Environment Correspondent Richard Black said that Denmark and Greenland are currently weighing their options. Those options include setting quotas without the IWC's consent or withdrawing entirely from the governing body, he said.
Also at the meeting, Black said that South Korea announced that they were getting set to allow some fishermen to hunt whales provided the marine mammals are being caught for scientific research. That proposal is similar to programs which have been in place in Japan since 1986, though the AP claims that some animal rights activists believe that it is a front for commercial whaling.
"A lack of consensus scuttled a proposal by Monaco to increase protection of whales, and the principality said it would take its case to the United Nations," the AP said. "Another continuing issue is a proposal by European and Latin American countries, plus the U.S., to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic."
That proposal, which has been rejected at several past IWC meetings, was also shot down at the 2012 meeting. At last year's meeting, Japan and several other pro-whaling nations walked out to protest the proposal, which would prohibit whale hunting in the Atlantic Ocean south of the Equator, the news organization said.
Cheryl McCormick, executive director of the American Cetacean Society, said that overall, the IWC meeting was "a mixed bag for whales." She said that many conservationists "would have liked for the sanctuary to be passed“¦ but plenty of us are not shedding any tears over the fact that Denmark didn't get an increase on its quota." She also added that the South Korea situation "is sure to be fiery."