Proposed Whaling Harvest Cuts Panned

CAMBRIDGE, England, April 22 (UPI) — The International Whaling Commission Thursday proposed reductions in whale harvesting for the next decade with Japan, Norway and Iceland taking part.

However, the commission’s draft proposal doesn’t go far enough for some anti-whaling activists, the BBC reported.

The draft plan will be reviewed by the 88 member governments before being taken up at their annual meeting in June.

The commission said under the 10-year plan Japan, Norway and Iceland, which previously set their own catch limits, have agreed to abide by IWC-set sustainable limits that are “substantially below present levels.” The three countries also will agree to a “rigorous oversight and enforcement arrangement,” the commission said in its news release.

The commission’s overall moratorium on commercial whaling will stay in place with no new countries starting whale harvests.

Under terms of the draft plan, several thousand fewer whales would be caught in the coming decade. Commission Chairman Cristian Maquieira said if approved it would be “a great step forward.”

“We are not there yet and much remains to be done but we truly wish this to be a consensus decision,” he said.

“For the first time since the adoption of the commercial whaling moratorium, we will have strict, enforceable limits on all whaling operations.”

Claire Bass of the World Society for the Protection of Animals said the scope of the proposal “shows just how far out of touch the IWC is with modern values.”

Sue Lieberman, director of international policy with the Pew Environment Group, said the draft plan has positives and negatives.

“This allows whaling by Japan to continue in the Southern Ocean — and the Southern Ocean Sanctuary should be set in stone,” she said.

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