IWC Conference in Brazil: Japan applies for "sustainable whaling"
If it is up to the will of Japan, international whaling would be in for a renaissance. The WWF is warning against this at the 67th International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Brazil, which started on September, 4th 2018.
Japan has submitted applications to return to commercial whaling. Thus, a committee for "sustainable whaling" should be created. In addition, the IWC should be able to set maximum catches for whale hunting in the future. The WWF urges the international community to resolutely oppose the return of commercial whaling and to smash the relevant requests by a large majority.
"Japan wants to convert the IWC into a whaling club. This relapse must be prevented by the member states. The Japanese proposal hides the fact that international legislation on the protection of whales has changed as well as research methods and the definition of sustainable use," criticized Stephan Lutter, responsible for whales and dolphins at WWF Germany. Whale observation has shown that sustainable and non-lethal "use", such as whale watching, accounts for about $ 1 billion globally, far outweighing whale hunting revenues. The WWF also criticizes the petition for further advancing the splitting of the IWC into "whale hunters" and "whale watchers".
Host country Brazil has presented with the "Florianopolis Declaration" an alternative to Japan's proposal, which the WWF expressly supports. "For whales to properly fulfil their role in oceanic ecosystems, stocks must grow to their original size before industrial whaling. The Brazilian vision places the protection of living whales more firmly in the centre of the IWC. This is a future for the giants of the seas and for the organization itself," says Lutter. "The whale habitat is louder and more dangerous through shipping and worldwide fishing. The IWC has to find solutions to these threats." After all, a planned whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic, underwater noise as well as ghost nets and by-catches which pose a threat to whales are other items on the agenda of the conference.