Pro and anti- whaling nations to meet in Brazil

By AFP |September 10,2018 - 09:41 PM

Nations on either side of the whale hunting debate are set for a standoff as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meets today with Japan hoping to overturn the 32-year-old ban on commercial whale hunting.

Japan will unveil proposals during the meeting in Florianopolis, Brazil, that outraged conservationists say are a blatant attempt to overturn the hunting moratorium that has largely held together since 1986.

“If Japan’s proposals were accepted it would once again be open season on whales, so this is the most dangerous and reckless attempt to bring back commercial whaling that we have seen in decades,” said Claire Bass, head of Humane Society International UK.

Japan, which exploits a moratorium loophole to hunt whales for “scientific purposes,” argues that recovering stocks of some species justifies a return to “sustainable whaling.”

Brazil is instead trying to rally anti-whaling nations behind a “Florianopolis Declaration,” which states that commercial whaling is no longer a necessary economic activity, favoring increased investment in whale watching.

“Our challenge at this meeting is whether we can bridge the two different ideas or find a situation where we can agree to disagree so that we can see the future rather than just fighting each other,” Joji Morishita, the incoming Japanese commission chairman, told AFP

Other key issues being discussed in the week-long meeting are risks to whales of human-made underwater noise pollution, ship strikes, climate change and fishing gear entanglement.

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