The world's whaling watchdog rejected a bid to expand protection in the South Atlantic. The issue were put to a vote on the closing day of the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) 65th meeting in Slovenia.
Japan and other whaling nations prevailed in their opposition to the creation of a sanctuary in the South Atlantic. The proposal needed 75% of votes to pass but got only two-thirds. Forty countries supported the motion, 18 were against and two abstained.
There was widespread disappointment at the failure of the proposal from Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay, countries which depend on whale-watching tourist dollars, for the creation of the South Atlantic sanctuary.
Such sanctuaries are important safe havens for whales in an increasingly threatened environment, said the Humane Society International's Rebecca Regnery.
We're disappointed with the result of the vote but at the same time encouraged to continue working for the sanctuary since support for the project keeps increasing, said the Brazilian representative.
The IWC has voted on the proposal several times and the idea is to have similar sanctuaries to those existent in the Austral and Indian oceans.