Pro-whaling nations on Tuesday blocked a near two-decade effort to create a South Atlantic haven for the endangered marine mammals, deepening divisions at an already fractious International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil. The South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary was backed by 39 countries with 25 voting against and several countries not casting a ballot, and so failed to get the required two-thirds majority from the 89-member body.
Brazil's Environment Minister Edson Duarte, whose country has been proposing the creation of the sanctuary since a 2001 IWC meeting, said he was disappointed but would continue to enlist support worldwide.
"As minister for the environment in a country with 20 percent of the world's biodiversity in its forests, we feel highly responsible for the stewardship of our wealth, for the whole world, and this goes for cetaceans as well," Duarte said, to applause from delegates.
Environmental groups attending the meeting expressed bitter disappointment at the outcome.Co-sponsored by Argentina, Gabon, South Africa and Uruguay, it was first discussed in 1998 and voted on since the 2001 meeting of the IWC.
The IWC recognizes two other sanctuaries, the Indian Ocean Sanctuary created in 1979 and another in 1994, in the waters of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Pro-whaling Japan voted against the project, backed by commercial whaling states Iceland and Norway.
Leave Your Comments