Robbie Marsland: I fear this could edge whales closer towards extinction

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The way the IWC is deciding the fate of our whales is positively Byzantine. For the thousands of NGOs and observers gathered in Agadir all we had was some dancers followed by 30 minutes from the chair and then the meeting was moved into closed session until Wednesday.

Going into a closed session makes you worry about who is saying what. Now we have no idea how a deal will be struck. In the past, the whaling nations have shown that if you give them an inch they'll take a mile. Already Korea – which is not a whaling nation – has been added to the list of countries you have to talk to about this deal. If that's not a tacit acknowledgement that Korea is an aspirant whaling nation I don't know what is.

My fear is that on Wednesday the ICW members will say it's all settled without anyone knowing how they've come to the decision. If that happens, I think there would be some people looking ashamed but they would know no finger would be pointed at them. We've seen what's happened in the past. If you allow people to kill whales they edge towards extinction.

The writer is country director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in the UK

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