Whaling Commission considers compromise

7 May 2010

The Small Working Group of the International Whaling Commission met in Florida March 2-4 to discuss the draft proposal for a compromise that was designed to bring together pro-whaling and anti-whaling nations. The Cousteau Society and other environmental NGOs criticized the proposal as a giveaway that legitimizes forms of commercial whaling without providing conservation protection.

The Small Working Group (SWG) comprises 33 of 88 members of the Commission. It met to consider the work of an even smaller drafting group in preparation for a final document that is to be presented to the entire Commission at the annual meeting in June. Essentially it provides for a ten-year suspension of the moratorium on commercial whaling while important provisions are negotiated. There are positive measures included—the full recognition of non-lethal exploitation such as whale-watching and the creation of a South Atlantic sanctuary—and optimistic goals, such as reducing the number of whales being killed, but no meaningful provisions for setting or enforcing limits. For more information and a copy of the NGO statement of objections, contact Cousteau@cousteausociety.org.