U.S. Joins Anti-Whaling Effort
Nations Respond To Panel's Vote
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 26, 2006
The United States and some of its closest allies are launching a concerted campaign to block a possible return to large-scale whaling and to reverse the gains made by pro-whaling forces in the international commission that regulates hunting of the massive creatures.
The political shift in the International Whaling Commission, which was on full display last week when the body narrowly backed a nonbinding resolution in favor of commercial whaling, has alarmed environmentalists and senior officials in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Britain. In interviews last week, several said they feel a duty to mount an organized effort to ensure that the 20-year-old whaling moratorium remains intact.
Anti-whaling countries won a few key votes during the commission's five-day annual meeting on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts that ended Tuesday. They defeated a proposal that would have required secret ballots on whaling issues.
But Bush administration officials said they were alarmed by the 33 to 32 vote in favor of the nonbinding declaration, which says the commission is "about managing whaling to ensure whale stocks are not over-harvested, rather than protecting all whales irrespective of their abundance." It would take a three-quarters vote to repeal the current ban on whaling.