Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Pew Environment Group, issued the following statement today in response to recent efforts to resolve the impasse at the International Whaling Commission.
“The proposed compromise released today by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) fails to respect both the IWC's 1994 declaration of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as well as the IWC's 28-year-old moratorium on commercial whaling. However, it contains many positive elements for whale conservation that finally bring the IWC into the 21st century.
“The Southern Ocean – the environmentally sensitive waters around Antarctica – must be respected as off-limits to any whaling today as well as 10 years from now. We are disappointed that the proposed compromise issued today validates Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.
“Tens of thousands of whales are no longer killed each year because of the moratorium, one of the major victories of the environmental movement and conservation-minded governments. But commercial whaling continues by Japan, Iceland and Norway under the guise of science or in disregard for the moratorium, and will continue with this proposed compromise.
“The threats to whales today from pollution, ship strikes, bycatch in fishing gear, underwater noise, industrial fishing and climate change are greater than they have ever been in the past. For two years, the member countries of the International Whaling Commission have been negotiating to find a way forward, to solve the whaling problem and then address the many other threats to whales across the world's oceans. The result of these negotiations, released today, does not go far enough to achieve those goals.”
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Pew Whale Conservation Project campaign.