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The return of whaling?

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society question the lifting of the whaling moratorium

A deal has been proposed that will allow commercial whaling for the first time in 24 years. In June this year, this deal will be considered and acted upon by the 80+ countries attending the International Whaling Commission.

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The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society believe this deal could threaten the long-term survival of whale populations and open the floodgates to far bigger slaughter in the future.

Recent media headlines suggest that the whaling deal-brokers are expecting to achieve a 'phase out' of whaling. This is far from the reality of what is actually being proposed. On the 7th May 2010, the IWC (International Whaling Commission) Chairman and Vice-Chair released a statement entitled: If you really care about whale conservation - give our proposal a fair reading.

Moratorium on commercial whaling to be suspended

WDCS has given the proposal, or 'deal', a fair read and has concluded that it will establish legal commercial whaling quotas for the next ten years and suspend the moratorium on commercial whaling, one of the hardest won conservation victories of this generation.

As a key element of their propaganda, the 'deal' supporters are suggesting that it will lead to a genuine reduction in commercial take. The 'deal' actually contains no phase-out of whaling, not even a reduction over the ten years. It is a step back to the block quotas of 30 years ago.

What does the 'deal' contain?

The 'deal' fundamentally fails to bring all whaling operations under full IWC control nor to strengthen further and focus the work of the IWC on conservation issues. Instead the 'deal'

  • Proposes the legally impossible stating that no other IWC member nations will be allowed to establish whaling operations, when it is not permissible under the convention to restrict whaling to any particular country and is patronizing to limit it to only three rich whaling countries.
  • Has no sunset clause that brings all quotas to zero if anyone breaks the deal.
  • Implausibly suggests the whalers will have to support the conservation work of the IWC in the future. Do the authors of a scheme that will cost member countries millions of dollars a year in fees to pay for the newly sanctioned whaling honestly believe that there will be funds for protecting the North Atlantic Right Whale? Is Iceland going to give all its profits from whaling to conservation efforts for the Amazon River Dolphin?

  • Creates a platform and timeframe for commercial whaling to reestablish markets and legitimize illegal activities.
  • Pretends that the form of the RMP (Revised Management Procedure) to be used is the one accepted by the IWC, when in fact it is a modified version that has been specified by the whalers to deliver the most whales as quickly as possible.
  • Gives political quotas out to the whalers, whilst bypassing the current debate on ASW (Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling) quota requests. In fact it puts into place quotas that no one has agreed to, for example the highly divisive Greenland demand for ten humpback whales.


The 'deal' is portrayed as a 'peace plan', when it is actually a 'whalers charter'.