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Humpbacks Get Stay Of Execution - But For How Long?

Dark clouds loom over the Future of the IWC

St.Petersburg, USA, 4th of March 2010: Against a background of furious debate, procedural ‘sleight of hand’ and scientific uncertainty, humpback whales have been granted a reprieve from a renewed hunt.
 
But this stay of execution may only last a few months. The vote on a proposal by Denmark, on behalf of Greenland, to hunt 10 humpback whales a year for aboriginal subsistence use was deferred only because insufficient countries showed up at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting. With no quorum, no vote could be taken.
 
With many countries opposed to the proposal, but others, such as the USA and Sweden, strongly supporting Denmark’s proposal, the IWC has almost thrown out the rule book to try and get this proposal adopted. We now expect the vote to take place at the 62nd annual meeting of the IWC in Morocco, in June this year.
 
“While we are pleased that the humpbacks have been given a few months of breathing space, we maintain that countries should not be afraid to reject this flawed proposal on its merits.  Instead, the IWC is clearly paralyzed by the fear that controversy over Greenland’s proposal will upset the possibility of securing a ‘deal’ on commercial whaling. But still the chances for humpbacks remain slim” says Nicolas Entrup, spokesperson of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) at the Meeting in Florida.
 
Prior to the Intersessional meeting a Small Working Group of the IWC met to develop a Package on the Future of the IWC that would, if adopted, allow commercial whaling to resume and ’lock in’ Greenland’s quotas for 10 years.
 
“An EU split over the Danish proposal risks shattering the credibility of the EU. This in turn threatens the future of whole Whaling Commission. The European Union, represented by 25 out of its 27 countries at the IWC needs to quickly get its act together. It needs to agree to a transparent and democratic process to engage proactively in a way that truly represents the majority view of all European citizens who have repeatedly, in survey after survey, expressed their fundamental position of not wishing to see a resumption of commercial whaling”.
 
The IWC now moves on to discuss the potential of a resumption of commercial whaling in June, in Morocco, but “how can civil society maintain any faith in the ‘Future of the IWC’ process when we have seen such abuse of process to try and force through this humpback proposal’” says the WDCS spokesperson.
 
For further information, please contact Nicolas Entrup, WDCS, T. + 49 171 1423 117 at the IWC Meeting in St.Petersburg, Florida, USA. E-Mail. Nicolas.entrup@wdcs.org
 
Background Information can be found at: www.wdcs.org