As reported in The Washington Post in February the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has proposed supporting a 10 year "whaling compromise" that would legalize commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years in exchange for reducing the number of whales killed each year.
Although that reduced number has yet to be determined the aim is to reduce the number of whales killed each year to a more sustainable level. The IWC states that nearly 2000 whales die each year to unregulated whaling, and that securing a means for countries to continue the hunt under IWC governance is the most effective way to control and reduce that number. Also on the table is the establishment of a South Atlantic whale sanctuary with more legal rigidity than the so-called "gentleman's agreement" that exists today.
Critics say reopening the door to commercial whaling is a bad move regardless. After a hard fought battle to end commercial whaling, the fact it could be legal in the 21st century seems outrageous to many.
There are three nations: Japan, Norway, and Iceland who claim whaling as an important part of their culture. Japan kills hundreds of whales each year on the grounds that it is "scientific whaling" which is permissible under the IWC rules. I, for one, do not have a clear concept of what all of this "scientific whaling" is contributing to science. ESPP blogged about whaling in Japan last week when the Australian Prime Minister publicly set a November deadline for Japan to cease all whaling. Read that post here.
What does everyone think of this proposal? I'm interested to hear your thoughts. Please comment.