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IWC 60th Annual Meeting, Chile 2008 - Day 4

International Whaling Commission's 60th Annual Meeting In Santiago, Chile 2008

PRESS RELEASE - DAY 4 - THURSDAY 26 JUNE

Today the Commission began by completing its review of the report of the Conservation Committee.

Items considered included:

* the report of a workshop organised by Chile on the southern right whale population of Chile-Peru;

* information on whalewatching and in particular actions and legislation from around the world;

* sanctuaries; and national cetacean conservation.

Australia introduced a paper it had submitted in the context of the future of the IWC related to conservation monitoring plans. The Commission then turned to the issue of aboriginal subsistence whaling.

The Scientific Committee reports its findings to the Commission's aboriginal subsistence whaling sub-committee. The report of that sub-committee can be found HERE. Last year, the Commission established catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling activities in the USA, Russian Federation, Denmark (Greenland) and St. Vincent and The Grenadines.

The main issue this year was a proposal by Denmark for a strike limit of 10 humpback whales annually for the period 2008-2012 for West Greenland.

The Scientific Committee had agreed that this strike limit would not harm the population. Discussion in the Commission focussed on whether or not Denmark (Greenland) had satisfactorily documented their need for the additional whales.

The Commission was deeply divided over this matter which was put to a vote. The proposal was defeated by 36 votes to 29 with 2 abstentions.

The next item of business related to whale sanctuaries and in particular the proposal for a South Atlantic Sanctuary made by Brazil, Argentina and South Africa that has been discussed several times before within the Commission but not agreed.

The Commission received a video presentation in support of the sanctuary. The three countries indicated that in order to facilitate the work on the future of the IWC they would not ask for a vote on this issue. The Chair of the Commission thanked these countries for their constructive attitude.

The Commission then went on to discuss the report of the infractions sub-committee. The Commission endorsed the report and noted the measures taken by Contracting Governments to try to ensure that IWC regulations are not broken.

ENDS

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