Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Japan proposes end to commercial whaling ban, faces pushback



September 11, 2018 by Sarah Dilorenzo
Japan proposed an end to a decades-old ban on commercial whaling at an international conference Monday, arguing there is no longer a scientific reason for what was supposed to be a temporary measure.
But the proposal faces stiff opposition from countries that argue that many whale populations are still vulnerable or, even more broadly, that the killing of whales is increasingly seen as unacceptable. Japan currently kills whales under a provision that allows hunting for research purposes.
"Science is clear: there are certain species of whales whose population is healthy enough to be harvested sustainably," reads the Japanese proposal, presented Monday at the biannual International Whaling Commission meetings taking place this week in Florianopolis, Brazil. "Japan proposes to establish a Committee dedicated to sustainable whaling (including commercial whaling and aboriginal subsistence whaling)."
Japan's proposal would also change how the international body operates, reflecting its frustration with an organization that it says has become "intolerant" and a "mere forum for confrontation."
It says it hopes that new rules—including allowing measures to be adopted by simple, rather than super, majority—would break longstanding deadlocks and allow the countries who prize conservation and those who push for sustainable use of whales to "coexist."
While Japan argues that whale stocks have recovered sufficiently to allow for commercial hunting, conservationists contend whaling on the high seas has proven difficult to manage.

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