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Berlin Initiative breaks IWC deadlock

Berlin Initiative breaks IWC deadlock

Auckland, Tuesday June 17: In an inspiring move the 55th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Berlin Monday passed a resolution that makes conservation central to the work of the IWC and will help protect the world’s whales, dolphins and porpoises.

This resolution to establish a conservation committee was hard won at 25 for and 20 against and is a significant shift for the IWC away from whaling. It will help to prioritise the conservation needs of cetaceans that are facing a wide range of threats including entanglement in fishing nets, toxic and noise pollution and climate change.

“The oceans are in crisis and the new conservation committee has a Herculean task ahead of it to address the problems facing cetaceans but this is a good first step,” says Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Rebecca Hayden.

“As the Mexican Commissioner Andreas Rosental said a vote against this resolution would have been a vote against conservation.”

“As expected, whaling nations tried every tactic to prevent the proposal from succeeding, but it is heartening to see that the will of the majority of the member countries of IWC support conservation and alternate uses of whales like high quality whale watching,” Hayden says.

For example species like the Vaquita in the Gulf of California number only 600, and 39 are killed every year in gill nets. They are in dire need of concrete action. This is a clear case where a species would benefit from the IWC scientist’s attention.

Notes to Editor: Countries voting for the Berlin Initiative: Australia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA. Countries voting against Berlin Initiative: Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, China, Denmark, Dominica, Guinea, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Russia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincents and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands. Countries not participating: Grenada

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