Whaling Commission promotes return of commercial whaling

Press release - 23 February, 2010
Greenpeace is condemning a proposal made yesterday by the International Whaling Commission which would allow the return of commercial whaling.

This is a throwback to the 20th century when whales were hunted to near extinction," said Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO Dr Linda Selvey. "We are calling for it to be rejected out of hand and for Australia to demand a whaling quota of zero in the Southern Ocean."

"The proposal rewards Japan for decades of reprehensible behaviour at the International Whaling Commission and in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary," continues Selvey." We are at a critical juncture for both whaling and ocean conservation. A return to commercial whaling would not only be a disaster for whales but will send shock waves through international ocean conservation efforts."

The so-called 'reform plans' appear to legitimise Japan's 'research' whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, which is a fraud conducted through a loophole in the IWC regulations. The IWC has never requested the 'research' and has repeatedly called on Japan to end it.

In a further insult to conservation, the proposal would allow the setting of quotas based on arbitrary figures not justified by scientifically peer-reviewed population estimates. The plan provides a table of catch limits for each of the next 10 years, with Antarctic catch limits labelled 'TBD' - To be decided. (1)

"The only number that should be decided is zero," said Selvey.

"While heralding a return to commercial whaling, perversely the proposal talks about how the IWC would make greater efforts for conservation, including recovery of endangered species. This is just greenwash," concluded Selvey.

Greenpeace calls upon all members of the IWC to reject this deal and instead work on bringing the IWC into the 21st century as a body dedicated entirely to the conservation and restoration of whale populations.

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Contact: James Lorenz – 0400 376 021