US House Representatives Bill Keating and Howard Berman have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives about the importance of U.S. leadership in whale conservation in the IWC and in other international bodies. They are asking the Obama Administration to take a strong stand at the IWC meeting in support of whales.
A recent survey of US households finds 89 percent of Americans support the protection of whales by active US government enforcement of the moratorium against whaling.
Representatives Keating and Berman are calling upon their colleagues in Congress to:
- strongly oppose commercial whaling and support use of all appropriate measures to end commercial whaling in any form, including for purposes of scientific research;
- seek to strengthen conservation and management measures to facilitate the conservation of whale species and populations, including support for the establishment of the South Atlantic Ocean whale sanctuary;
- urge the President and the international community to modernize the International Whaling Commission, consistent with other international conservation organizations, by expanding the participation of civil society, improving transparency and supporting efforts to improve its effectiveness; and
- support ongoing research efforts to understand, prevent or mitigate threats to whales and their habitat, such as ocean noise, marine debris, ship strikes, entanglements, contaminants and disease.
“While Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to ignore the thirty year moratorium on commercial whaling, the U.S. government has been a beacon of hope, leading efforts to protect the species,” added Patrick Ramage, Global Whale Program Director, IFAW. “U.S. leadership was critical in establishing the ban that was first proposed by President Reagan, and in the successful designation of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica that was championed by the U.S. in the early 1990s. Once again, U.S. leadership is needed to ensure a safer future for the world’s whales.”
At this IWC meeting in Panama City, the Obama Administration has an opportunity to show leadership in protecting whales and opposing any whaling schemes. A good place to start would be to support a review of aboriginal subsistence whaling by the Commission to address issues of commercial uses of whale products caught through this exception to the whaling moratorium.