Whales Survive Another COP


CONTACT:          Adam Roberts, Animal Welfare Institute
2255-3767 Room 1104 (Bangkok)
07-126-1466 (Bangkok mobile)

October 12, 2004

Will Travers, Born Free Foundation
2255-3767 Room 1103 (Bangkok)
01-302-5974 (Bangkok mobile)

Bangkok, Thailand—In another blow to Japan's incessant attempt to subvert the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on commercial whaling and CITES' ban on international trade in whale meat and products, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora soundly defeated a move by Japan to reopen commercial trade in minke whales.

The move, taken today in Committee, should send an unequivocal message to Japan that CITES Parties will not accept international trade in whales while the IWC prohibits such actions. "CITES surely has grown tired of Japan's attempts to undermine the IWC," observed Sue Fisher, US Director with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. "Japan's population figures are incorrect, some minke whales populations remain endangered, and whales are threatened by global climate change and marine pollution. The time has come for Japan to abandon its obstructionist attempts to have CITES sanction its dangerous whaling proposals."

The vote was defeated with 55 votes in favor, 67 against, and 14 abstentions.  Like the four previous meeting of the Conference of the Parties, Japan's minke whale proposal did not even garner a simple majority in support of its proposal.

"International competency for decisions regarding commercial whaling rests with the IWC," noted Will Travers, President of the Species Survival Network. "Since the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling took effect in 1986, Japan, Norway, and Iceland kill almost 1,500 whales annually under the guise of 'scientific whaling'. Perhaps Japan should consider strictly abiding by the global moratorium and its international Treaty obligations rather than continue to pursue its unacceptable whaling agenda which takes time away from other CITES Parties and their important conservation proposals."

"Unregulated and unsustainable commercial whaling previously decimated some whale stocks by over 90%," Fisher continued. "Japan's efforts to secure support for its proposal have been unprecedented in both their scale and aggression. After yet another defeat, surely Japan must be counting the cost today both financially and diplomatically - of its bullying tactics".