First name Last Name Adam Roberts

For Immediate Release:

6 Jun 2019

UN Conference Stands Firm Against Whale Trade

THE HAGUE–Less than a week after the International Whaling Commission (IWC) voted to uphold its moratorium on commercial whaling, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today rejected an effort by whaling nations to undermine a related ban on international trade in whale products. The proposal, brought by Japan, was seen as a first step in rolling back protections for the great whale species protected from international trade by CITES. It was resoundingly rejected. “This is the fifteenth time whaling nations have tried to reopen trade since 1997, and the fifteenth time they’ve failed,” said Carroll Muffett, Deputy Campaigns Director for Greenpeace USA. “It’s high time they accepted that commercial whale trade has no place in the modern world.”

Japan’s proposal was seen as an attempt to bypass the moratorium on commercial whaling, maintained by the IWC since 1986. Its rejection today comes on the heels of key victories for whale conservation at the 59th IWC meeting held in Anchorage, Alaska, last week. At the IWC meeting, Japan withdrew a proposal to overturn the commercial whaling ban for four coastal whaling communities after it was unable to secure the votes needed for adoption.

The IWC also passed a resolution that reaffirmed the need to maintain the commercial whaling ban and called on CITES to maintain its restrictions on the whale trade. “The message to Japan and its pro-whaling allies is unequivocal. “Both the IWC and CITES have spoken in favor of whale protection and conservation, “said Kitty Block, director Treaty Law of Humane Society International, “It is clear that there is no international will to resume commercial whaling or international trade in their parts”

However, despite losing by a wide margin today, Japan could still bring its proposal back for reconsideration before the conference ends. “The likelihood that Japan would be successful a second time around is very low given the consistent opposition by CITES Parties to reopening the whale trade”, said Will Travers, CEO of the Born Free Foundation and Chairman of the Species Survival Network. “The more defiantly Japan pushes unwelcome proposals to trade in whales, the more ground they will lose—eventually, we hope, they’ll see sense and give whales a much-needed break.”

For more information contact:

Carroll Muffett (in The Hague): 06 4616 2042
Kitty Block (globally): 1- 240-888-4424

Adam M. Roberts, Press Officer,
In The Hague: 06-5213 6798
Globally: 1-202-445-3572

10, Churchillplein NL-2508 THE HAGUE