IFAW: Norway harpoons efforts to recognise whaling as threat to whales at international forum

(Bergen, Norway – 25 November, 2011) – An intergovernmental conservation body representing more than 100 countries has failed to recognise whaling as a threat to whale conservation following objections from Norway, one of the last three countries still killing whales for commercial reasons.

At the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in Bergen, Norway, today (Friday), party members passed in a resolution a global programme of work addressing human-induced impacts on cetaceans, but withdrew whaling after complaints from Norway, which argued that CMS is not the correct forum for this issue.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whale Programme, said: “Norway has harpooned efforts to have CMS recognise the very real threat posed to whales by commercial whaling. While on one hand Norway committed to fight some important threats to whales through this forum, it has managed to kill any mention of whaling which could and should have appeared in this important global resolution.

“Whaling is a dying industry but one which poses a serious threat to whales at a time when they face more threats than ever before. IFAW is disappointed that an opportunity for this international forum to recognise the threat of whaling was scuppered in this way.”

In a draft version of the resolution, commercial whaling was cited as one of the higher threats to whales. In the final version of the global resolution on cetaceans, IFAW was pleased to see that other substantial threats, such as bycatch, pollution and feeding ground degradation were included, but disappointed to see whaling excluded by Norway.

This latest blow to the fight against whaling comes at a time when Japan’s whaling fleet is poised to set sail for the pristine Southern Ocean Sanctuary to kill up to 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales, in defiance of global opposition and several international laws.

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no humane way to kill a whale. Footage of Japanese whaling analysed by IFAW scientists has shown whales can take more than half an hour to die. IFAW promotes responsible whale watching as a humane and financially viable alternative to the cruelty of whaling.


For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Robbie Marsland in the IFAW UK Press Office on mobile +44 (0)7801 613 534 or email rmarsland@ifaw.org

Alternatively visit www.ifaw.org

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter