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Japan and Iceland defeated on pro-whaling initiative

Japan and Iceland defeated on pro-whaling initiative

Japan and Iceland defeated on pro-whaling initiative
June 7, 2007

Japan and Iceland failed in their latest attempts to lift regulations protecting whales, reports the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Measures introduced at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in the Hague were defeated 55 (against) to 28 (for) with 13 abstentions Thursday.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said that had resolutions by Japan and Iceland passed, it could have lead to the resumption of international commercial trade in whale products for the first time in more than 20 years.

“We believe CITES has made the right decisions today, but they still need to be ratified by all Parties,” said Niki Entrup of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. “Japan and Iceland have plenty of time to lobby to reopen debate and overturn this vote.”

Annual whale harvest from 2001-2006 (2006 figures are not complete). Graph by, data from Science, background image courtesy of R. Wicklund OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP); University of North Carolina at Wilmington

The defeat comes a week after Japan lost its bid at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to resume commercial whaling. Japan is planning to harvest 1000 whales–50 humpbacks, 50 fin, and 900 minke whales–this year for “scientific” purposes, though the meat ends up in local markets. Japan has killed some 6500 minke whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary since 1987. By comparison, about 2100 whales killed worldwide by all countries combined between 1952 and 1986.

Iceland and Norway also continue to take minke whales, though they admit the whaling is for commercial purposes.

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