A new resolution was adopted this week at the International Whaling Commission’s meeting in Slovenia. The proposal was suggested by Australia and strongly backed by New Zealand. The purpose of the whaling resolution was to stop the so-called lethal scientific researcher of the marine animals.
Australia’s Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, hopes to put an end to the practice of killing whales in the name “science” performed by some countries like Japan and Norway. The practice is seen by many as atrocious in nature because if it truly was for scientific purposes then the number of whales killed wouldn’t be as high as it currently is. Whales can also be studied in their natural habitat, not only in an examination room.
The IWC meeting in Slovenia has been called a major success for anti-whaling countries as it will tighten the loophole used to catch and kill whales under scientific pretenses. It calls for a greater oversight in regards to special permits that allow lethal scientific whale research. Currently, the special permits are self-assessed by each country individually. Additionally, a second whaling resolution was adopted, co-sponsored by a number of other countries in support of Australia, which calls for a more independent and transparent review process that will improve the capacity make countries accountable for their unnecessary lethal whaling.
The new whaling resolutions are hailed as a major conservation success, especially so after failing to form a South Atlantic whale sanctuary. However, the IWC whaling resolution that imposes limitations on countries such as Japan does not have any binding effect on a sovereign nation without any way of constraining them to comply.
When the International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program was illegal as it was not meant for scientific purposes, the country just created a new program called NEWREP-A. Although, it claims the new program uses different scientific methods than its predecessor.
At this point, the whaling resolution regarding the self-assessed permits has led to the creation of a Working Group under the Convention. It will take into consideration the Scientific Committee’s recommendations regarding the special permits. Its purpose is to increase the scrutiny of special permits by increasing the role the Committee plays in awarding them.
Nonetheless, these new resolutions won’t have a powerful impact on Japan or Norway’s whaling programs.
Image source: Wikipedia