Pro-whaling countries yet again harpoon plans for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary

At the final day of the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Portoroz, Slovenia, plans for a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary failed once again due to opposition from pro-whaling nations.

The proposal, put forward by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and new sponsor Gabon, aimed to provide a comprehensive approach to conservation of cetaceans, involving the management of all threats to whales in the region, not just the threat of whaling, which does not take place in these waters.

Despite strong support from conservationists, the resolution, which could have been passed by consensus, was pushed to a vote by pro-whaling countries, and failed to achieve the three-quarters majority needed for adoption (40-18 against and two abstentions). A proposal for a sanctuary in the region has been tabled at almost every IWC meeting since 1999 but has always stalled. However, following today’s vote the Brazilian Commissioner said this was the closest it had come to adoption.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whales Programme, said: “This valuable conservation proposal has sadly failed once again because of the influence of countries outside the relevant South Atlantic region. Non-lethal research on whales in this particular area, as elsewhere, has provided much more reliable and precise information than has ever been achieved by so-called ‘scientific whaling’ or other lethal methods.

“It is very disappointing that such a positive opportunity for whales has been harpooned again by Japan and her allies.”

Earlier today, there was a major victory for whales when the key New Zealand resolution on Japan’s ‘scientific whaling’ in the Antarctic was passed following days of wrangling between pro and anti-whaling nations. After being pushed to a vote it went through 35-20 with five abstentions and one absence.

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no humane way to kill a whale. Responsible whale watching offers a humane and economically viable alternative that is better for whales and provides more sustainable livelihoods for people.

Notes to Editors –

IFAW whale experts are attending the meeting and are available for interview.

For more information or to arrange interviews with IFAW’s team at IWC please contact Clare Sterling in Slovenia on mobile +44 (0)7917 507717 or email

Skype interviews are available on request.

IFAW’s team in Slovenia are providing regular video blogs from the meeting via

Follow IFAW updates on Twitter via @Action4IFAW and @IFAWUKPress

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IWC documents are available here:

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 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Amanda Gent| Communications Officer
IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare
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