January 20, 2009

Whaling Group May Disband Over Conflicting Countries

It was announced on Tuesday that the international group that supervises whaling may disband if an attempt to mediate pro and anti whaling groups is not successful.

The International Whaling Commission formed several contributory groups to hammer out an agreement between the two sides, but it is not certain if the endeavor will be successful.

"This year is a moment of truth for the IWC," Joji Morishita, a counselor with Japan's Fisheries Agency, told Reuters. "This is almost a final try. If we fail, we will need a cooling-off period."

If this happens, meetings may halt for several years, he added.

Commercial whaling is prohibited under a 1986 agreement, which Japan agreed to follow. However, the Japanese government is severely defensive of its "scientific" whaling agenda, stating destroying whales is the same as killing any other creature.

Japan is currently engaged in its yearly Antarctic whale hunt, targeted at catching 900 whales.

The hunt is fervently opposed by nations like Australia and Britain, who demand that the IWC to reform into a conservation group instead of returning to the restricted hunting whalers stipulations.

"There are no dialogues, it's just shouting matches sometimes," Morishita stated about the yearly IWC meetings.

Japan has frequently warned that they will quit the IWC, but Morishita said that would be not be better off if the IWC disbanded.

"We need a framework for international cooperation, exchanging data, analyzing the stock situation and establishing mutual rules," Morishita said. "We are responsible and we will continue to be so."


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