Pro- and anti- whaling nations set for clash in Brazil

Tokyo heads into the biennial meeting as chair of the 88-nation body determined to shake-up what it says is a dysfunctional organization mired in dispute

Pro-whaling nations on Tuesday blocked a near two-decade effort to create a South Atlantic haven for the endangered marine mammals, deepening divisions at an already fractious International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil.

Japan argues that stocks of Minke whales and other species have recovered and proposes setting new catch quotas "for species whose stocks are recognized as healthy by the IWC's scientific committee".

It says it hopes that new rules - including allowing measures to be adopted by simple, rather than super, majority - would break longstanding deadlocks and allow the countries who prize conservation and those who push for sustainable use of whales to "coexist".

Yet it is the spectre of full-scale commercial whaling on open seas which will be dominating IWC proceedings over coming days after its incoming chairman Professor Joji Morishita announced he wanted to change the conference's paradigm to "mutual respect from mutual denial".

The killing of whales is now permitted for research purposes by the commission under a clause include in its ban on commercial whaling. "New Zealand continues to support the moratorium on commercial whaling".

"This meeting is critical", said Patrick Ramage of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. It's moreover that that you just'll want to perhaps imagine that the Jap might perhaps well pull encourage the proposal - or try and negotiate the inclusion of aspects of it in totally different proposals.

Australia won a case against Japan at the International Court of Justice in 2014 for disregarding the Southern Ocean sanctuary and hunting around Antarctica as part of its "scientific program". It revised this technique and resumed the hunt in 2016.

Brazil is trying to rally anti-whaling nations behind a “Florianopolis Declaration”, which insists that commercial whaling is no longer a necessary economic activity

Some, however, contend the research program remains a cover for commercial whaling because the whale meat is sold for food.

Brazil wants to get IWC members to agree that commercial whaling is no longer necessary and that whale populations should rise to pre-industrial whaling levels.

"The Australian folk possess clearly made a call that they don't narrate that whaling is something that we can even merely quiet be venture within the twenty first century", talked about Anne Ruston, Australia's assistant minister for worldwide pattern and the Pacific, on the sidelines of Monday's conferences.

However, some anti-whaling delegates said it showed the lack of preparation by proposing countries to let potential votes leak away due to a procedural matter, adding that Japan was altogether more efficient in preparing the political ground.

"The argument that we put aside forward from Australia is that we don't desire to witness any whales killed, whether they're killed because (of) commercial whaling or whether it be so-called scientific whaling".

Australia says that non-lethal research techniques actually reveal more information about whales than can be learned through killing them. Aboriginal groups in several countries are allowed to hunt whales for subsistence and cultural purposes.

Officials on the archipelago say the hunts are conducted in accordance with worldwide law and that it takes only a few seconds to kill each whale using a lance to break the spinal cord.

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