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Progress on whale conservation in jeopardy

Progress on whale conservation in jeopardy

The International Whaling Commission is balanced on a knife-edge after new efforts by pro-whaling nations to stack the membership of the commission, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

“I have just arrived at the IWC meeting in Berlin to find the very real possibility that pro-whalers may win a majority on the commission for the first time in thirty years if, as expected, three new pro-whaling nations join tomorrow.

“If this comes to pass it will be a significant setback for whale conservation. Loss of a pro-conservation majority on the IWC will scuttle further progress at this meeting on the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, a proposal that enjoys immense support in the Pacific,” Mr Carter said.

“The Berlin Initiative, another pro-conservation proposal designed by Mexico for this meeting, may also founder should a simple majority be lost. New Zealand is doing all it can to stop this from occurring, and we should know by the end of tomorrow if our efforts are successful.”

Mr Carter said that despite the lengths being taken by pro-whalers to distort the Commission’s membership, the moratorium on commercial whaling remains safe because to lift it requires the support of 75% of IWC’s membership, not just a 51% majority.

“We need to be clear that a change in membership on the IWC does not represent a change in the world opinion on the importance of protecting whales - it is just a culmination of a concerted campaign by pro-whaling nations to satisfy their appetites at the expense of a species,” Mr Carter said.

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