Moderates defeat militants and save the whales

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The Independent Online
OPPONENTS OF commercial whaling registered an important tactical victory yesterday which will effectively prevent the threatened return of large-scale commercial whale-hunting, writes Geoffrey Lean.

At a meeting in Mexico, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed without a vote to accept a new scientific system for setting quotas to kill whales - but to postpone its adoption indefinitely.

Conservationists believe that by the time any action is taken over quotas the whaling nations will have lost interest. Yesterday's complicated manoeuvre follows an overwhelming vote earlier in the week to ban all hunting in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, home to 90 per cent of minke whales, the only species which is still killed.

The outcome in Mexico marks a victory for moderate conservation groups, like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace, over militants who had mounted an absolutist campaign under the slogan 'Just Say No' and attacked the moderates.

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