Twelve member countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)—an 88-country organization created in 1946 to monitor the whaling industry—have proposed catch quotas for the next ten years for countries that hunt whales.
Currently, there is a moratorium on whale hunting, but Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to hunt in the Antarctic Ocean, through loopholes in the current law or by claiming to hunt for “scientific purposes.” Iceland Fisheries Minister, Einar K. Gudfinsson released this week a statement noting that his country is not satisfied by the quota proposal submitted by IWC's president, Chilean Cristian Maquiera.
Gudfinsson said Iceland will pull out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) if the proposition is passed, meaning it would not be restricted to the rules or quotas of the organization and could hunt as much as it desired.
New Zealand and Mexico have also issued strong statements against the whaling quotas. The Chilean government, so far, has been quiet on the proposal. Previously, the Chilean government had promised to do what it could for the whales in the country’s surrounding waters.
In 2008, President Michele Bachelet said that means that Chile is committed to the whales and will do as much as we can—in Chile and in the world—to support the fight for the conservation of the whales and against their extinction.
The IWC touts the quotas as a way to be more open with all countries about whale hunting. Environmental organizations see the quotas as a step backwards in preserving endangered whale species. The IWC will meet again to discuss, change or accept the quotas at the end of June.
By Laura French – Santiago Times