Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Whale meet nations in flare up over Brazil project

Whale meet nations in flare up over Brazil project Whale meet nations in flare up over Brazil project
Elijah Vega | 16 September, 2018, 06:40

A bid to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic Ocean was defeated by pro-whaling nations at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference in Florianopolis, Brazil on Tuesday.

"We now have an important instrument to guide our path", said Brazil's commissioner Hermano Ribiero.

Now a three-fourths majority of IWC members is needed to set a catch quota or establish a sanctuary.

Iceland, which along with Norway, ignores the 32-year moratorium on commercial whaling, said the Brazilian document - which would outlaw Japan's "scientific" hunt - "is meant to be divisive".

The conservation effort aimed to increase the whale stock and curb the "severe exploitation" by foreign whaling fleets in the South Atlantic, according to the proposal submitted to the IWC.

While Japan halted commercial whaling in line with a moratorium adopted by the IWC in 1982, it has hunted whales since 1987 for what it calls scientific research purposes.

Japan had sought consensus but had been forced to push the proposal to a vote "to demonstrate the resounding voices of support" for a return to sustainable whaling for profit.

Countries on both sides of the whaling divide on Wednesday voted to renew quotas for limited whale hunts for indigenous communities in Alaska, Russia, Greenland and the Caribbean - taking into account their cultural and subsistence needs.

Israeli forces start demolishing protest caravans around Bedouin community
Khan al-Ahmar's demolition had already been approved by the court in May, which the judges noted in their decision last week. However, evictions from Khan el-Ahmar - authorized in a definitive manner by the Israeli Supreme Court - has not yet begun.

Australia's commissioner Nick Gales rejected "the narrative of underlying dysfunction and intolerance" suggested by Japan.

Australia took Japan to the International Court of Justice in 2014 and won a ruling outlawing its "scientific program" in the southern Ocean.

Gales told the meeting that given "the manner and rate" of Japan's lengthy proposal to the Commission, it was hard to escape the conclusion that the presentation had been "designed and bought forward with the intent and in the clear knowledge it will fail".

The meeting erupted into rancor over attempts to forge a common vision for the 72-year-old organization, which is torn between pro- and anti-whaling countries.

New Zealand's Commissioner Amy Laurenson, speaking in favor of the sanctuary, told the meeting it was about protecting whales, "not about determining the outcome for other areas of the world".

Patrick Ramage, director of marine conservation at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, noted that Japan has frequently threatened to pull out of the body.

Japan's pullout would spark criticism from anti-whaling members for taking lightly global rules, but Japan is also under pressure from local fishermen to restart commercial whaling.

It's commissioner Edwin Snagg said Japan had "opened the window" on change within the organization, but anti-whaling nations were "slamming the door".

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