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International Herald Tribune

International commercial whaling ban is upheld

Thursday, May 31, 2007

ANCHORAGE, Alaska: The International Whaling Commission passed a resolution affirming a 21-year ban on commercial whaling remains in place and is still relevant.

The move Thursday, the final day of the commission’s annual meeting, essentially snubbed a symbolic resolution narrowly passed last year that the ban was meant to be temporary and is no longer needed.

The IWC also was scheduled later Thursday to revisit Japan’s contentious request to allow four coastal communities to hunt minke whales.

This year’s resolution also noted there should be no change in restrictions prohibiting the international trade in meat and other parts of large whales regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.

Supporters said it was critical to send that message to the 171-member convention, which begins a 12-day meeting in Amsterdam on Sunday to consider revising the list of thousands of plants and animals whose trade is regulated.

With several new anti-whaling members attending the IWC meeting this year, pro-whaling factions fell short of last year’s slim majority. But they lobbied hard against the resolution, saying it would fuel already tense relations between pro- and anti-whaling nations.

“CITES should make decisions based on their own criteria, not our politics,” said Iceland delegate Stefan Asmundsson.

Without a consensus, the resolution passed 37-4, with Iceland and 25 other nations declining to participate.

Also on Thursday, the commission passed Greenland’s revised proposal to increase its aboriginal quota of minke whales to 200 as well as hunt fin and bowhead whales. Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory, originally wanted to also add humpback whales, but met adamant opposition from critics who noted that the huge humpbacks and bowheads have low reproduction cycles.

 



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