Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin attempting to thwart Japanese whalers, February 2009. Photo: John via flickr
BBC News has seen a draft of a report on the progress of talks between pro- and anti-whaling nations and the outlook for whales isn't good. Talks between the sides, organized by the International Whaling Commission, have stalled and there is no chance of an agreement in 2009:
The BBC cites a source "close to the talks" who blames Japan for holding up progress, as it won't agree to large enough cuts in its annual Antarctic hunt. That's the same hunt which weather and direct action by anti-whaling activists yielded a catch far below target levels, and which Japan says is all done in the name of scientific research. Japan offered to cut its target level to 650 minke whales, only 29 less than were caught last year.
New Quota For Coastal Villages Sought
As a concession for these cuts, Japan wants to have a small annual quota for four coastal villages, where whaling has been traditionally practiced and is part of their cultural heritage. This quota would be set at 150 whales.
Three Ways Nations May Still Commercially Hunt Whales
You may well ask why any commercial hunting of whales goes on: Though there's been an international moratorium on commercial whaling since 1982, exemptions can occur if 1) a nation objects to the law, as Norway does, and they simply say the law does not apply to them; 2) a nation claims the hunt is done for scientific purposes, as Japan does; or 3) an aboriginal group is granted permission by the International Whaling Commission for subsistence-level hunting.
via: BBC News
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Anti-Whaling Warrior, Captain Paul Watson