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EU countries undermine the global ban on commercial whaling

On the opening day of the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Slovenia, 15 civil society organizations, including Whale and Dolphin Conservation have denounced member countries of the European Union for effectively sentencing humpback whales to death through the promotion of commercial whale hunts.

By presenting a “package” of proposals regarding the numbers of whales that can be killed by Greenland for local aboriginal subsistence, the groups have also criticized the European Union is for dismantling the global moratorium on commercial whaling, one of the greatest achievements in the history of environmental law.

In Greenland, the open commercial sale of whale meat is increasing in restaurants, hotels and tourist cruisers, despite the fact that the meat should only be hunted and produced for local consumption.

Only two years ago the European Union rejected these captures at the meeting, which makes it incomprehensible that its member countries have now openly supported a proposal at the current IWC meeting that not only undermines the moratorium but also directly affects the interests of some Latin American communities that rely on these magnificent marine mammals for tourism and a growing whale watching industry.

In particular, the European Union proposal has placed a death sentence on dozens of humpback whales that migrate from the Arctic to the warm waters of the Dominican Republic, where their presence sustains the expansion of a whale watching activities that are fundamental to coastal communities in the region.

Although it has one of the strictest legislations in cetacean conservation, the European Union has also decided to ignore the illegal whaling that Greenland has conducted without the authorization of the IWC since 2013, and the irrefutable evidence of the commercial nature of this slaughter.

The actions of the European Union mean that it will now been seen in future years as responsible for paving the way for the reopening of commercial whaling, and eroding the very international ban that has helped most great cetacean species pull back from the brink of extinction. 

Signatories to the statement:

Campaign Whale (United Kingdom)

Centro de Conservación Cetácea (Chile y Brasil)

Cetacean Society International (CSI)

Comarino (México)

Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness (ECCEA)

Fundación Cethus (Argentina)

Fundación Conservaré (Colombia)

Fundación Promar (Costa Rica)

Instituto Augusto Carneiro (Brasil)

Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas (Argentina)

International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute (USA)

Organización para la Conservación de Cetáceos (Uruguay)

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (UK/US/Aus/Germany/Argentina)

Whales Alive (Australia)

Wildlife Friends International (Netherlands)