Saving the whale: an achievement suddenly in danger

Share
Related Topics

The International Whaling Commission meets today in Sorrento under a shadow: the possibility that pro-whaling nations could control a slim majority in the commission for the first time. This would probably not be enough for them to overturn the 1986 international ban on whaling, for which a 75 per cent majority vote is necessary, but it could result in some harmful developments for the world's whale population. With a majority behind them, countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland could exclude environmental pressure groups from the meeting. They could elect a new chairman and push through pro-whaling resolutions.

The International Whaling Commission meets today in Sorrento under a shadow: the possibility that pro-whaling nations could control a slim majority in the commission for the first time. This would probably not be enough for them to overturn the 1986 international ban on whaling, for which a 75 per cent majority vote is necessary, but it could result in some harmful developments for the world's whale population. With a majority behind them, countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland could exclude environmental pressure groups from the meeting. They could elect a new chairman and push through pro-whaling resolutions.

Despite being traditionally outnumbered in the commission by anti-whaling nations such as the UK, Australia and the US, pro-whaling countries have persuaded a host of smaller nations to join their voting block. Japan has been channelling development aid to countries such as Antigua, St Vincent and the Ivory Coast in return for votes on the commission. This meeting could represent the crowning triumph of this unethical approach.

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of this affair is the fact that since the 1986 moratorium, pro-whaling countries have regularly flouted the commission's will anyway. A majority would simply enable them to do so more effectively. Since 1986 thousands of whales have been killed by Japanese sailors on the spurious grounds that their bodies are needed for "scientific research". The real purpose is to provide food for the Japanese market. Norwegian fishermen have mounted periodical objections to the ban and hunted while their case is under consideration. Soon pro-whaling countries may not even need such excuses.

The response from anti-whaling nations must be firm. They must do everything in their power to safeguard the 1986 ban and prevent it being eroded in practice. They must make it clear to Japan that its tactics of bribing smaller nations will not be tolerated. Finally, increased moral pressure must be brought to bear on all countries that continue to jeopardise the existence of these creatures in pursuit of the gratification of human appetites.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media  

The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism

Holly Aston
3 Donatella Versace and Audrey  

Errors and Omissions: We were having a blond moment – maybe two

John Rentoul
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week