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Closed-door meeting could lift whaling ban

Closed-door meeting could lift whaling ban

8 December 2008

(Sydney, Australia) - Negotiations at a meeting taking place behind closed doors in England this week could jeopardise the worldwide ban on commercial whaling, according to IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare).

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is holding a three-day Small Working Group meeting in Cambridge from today with delegates from around 24 countries expected to attend. The aim of the meeting is to move the Commission beyond the apparent deadlock between pro-whaling and conservation-minded countries on a number of items, including the ban on commercial whaling.

“Right now Japan’s whalers are on their way to the pristine Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary where they intend to kill almost 1,000 whales. As a show of good faith at the meeting we urge Japan to recall its whaling fleet and suspend its whaling program,” IFAW Programs Manager, Darren Kindleysides, said.

The IWC denies that this and other Small Working Group meetings are ‘secret’, but is holding them behind closed doors with no NGOs or other observers allowed to attend or to see many of the documents discussed. IFAW opposes any compromise on the international moratorium on commercial whaling, in place since 1986, and will have a presence outside the meeting in a bid to engage with delegates and remind them that whales need protecting.

“The international moratorium on commercial whaling needs to be strengthened, not weakened as the world’s whales face more threats than ever before from increased whaling, entanglement in fishing nets, pollution, ship strikes and man-made ocean noise.

“We call on all of those attending the meeting in Cambridge not to compromise on whale protection.

“Rather than permitting an expansion of whaling, member countries should be seeking to stop ‘scientific’ whaling, which is illegal under international law, and demanding full compliance with international obligations,” Mr Kindleysides said.


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