Image credit: iheartnewyork
If you think you have it rough, you should try swimming a mile in a whale's flippers, for a change. Japan announced Tuesday that it is pushing ahead with its controversial plan to hunt the endangered humpback whale, despite a compromise offer, as well as warnings from Australia and New Zealand that this would be a "provocative act."
"Japan is proceeding with its full research program as planned at this stage and this includes the humpbacks," Glenn Inwood, the spokesman for the Japanese delegation at the annual talks of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), told AFP.Japan wants to kill 50 humpbacks this summer, using stocks that migrate along the coasts of Australia and New Zealand into the tropical Pacific, under its whale scientific research program. The thousand or so whales Japan harpoons per year under its scientific program is later sold as meat.
The acrobatic displays of humpbacks draw millions of whale watchers in Australia, New Zealand, and other coastal communities around the world, generating more than a billion dollars in total income.
The 76-member-nation-strong IWC, which manages whaling and whale conservation, has banned commercial whaling since 1986; environmental groups accuse Japan of exploiting a legal loophole that permits whaling for purposes of scientific research. Along with Iceland and Norway, Japan continues to press for the lifting on the 20-year moratorium on commercial whaling. (Significant measures such as this would require a 75 percent majority vote, however, making it easy for opposing sides to block the other's proposal.)
Meanwhile, proposals for a South Atlantic whale sanctuary were defeated in the first vote of the four-day meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. Raised by countries in South America, this would have extended whale protection northwards from the existing Southern Ocean sanctuary. :: AFP , :: Reuters, and :: BBC News
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