Controversial whale sanctuary to be voted on at the International Whaling Commission

A whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic covering an area as big as India and Russia together: This is the proposal presented by Argentina, Gabon, South Africa, Uruguay and Brazil at the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Slovenia, which runs from October 20 to 28. A heated debate between some 80 pro- and anti-whaling nations will lead tomorrow (25.10.2016) into voting on whether to give the green light to the proposal, or reject it once again – it happened in 1998.  Japan, Iceland and Norway have been the three main countries blocking the sanctuary due – environmentalists say – to their commercial interests. These three nations have used legal loopholes and controversial arguments to keep hunting whales, even in existing sanctuaries. If the new sanctuary proposal is accepted, the immediate question following the hurrahs will be how to really protect whales there from countries that continue to insist on whaling. While the moratorium for commercial hunting from 1985 largely improved the protection of whales, threats such as by-catch or pollution were left out of the agreement. Whale sanctuaries are intended to fill that gap. Read the story here 13:12