Media Release Whale Protection

Outrageous bid to end whaling ban fails at International Whaling Commission

September 15, 2018

The Japanese Government today failed in their push to end the global moratorium on whaling at the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Brazil. Japan lost the vote on their “Way Forward” proposal that would have led to new commercial whaling quotas being established by 2020. 27 countries voted in favour of Japan’s proposal and 41 against. The proposal needed a three-quarters majority to succeed, but didn’t even achieve a simple majority. Australia voted against the proposal.

“This is a win for the whales. Japan’s outrageous attempt to bring back commercial whaling has been condemned to history. This is Japan’s latest failure to resuscitate a dying industry,” said Tooni Mahto Campaigns Manager with the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“The IWC’s rejection of Japan’s proposal sends a clear message to the Government of Japan that commercial whaling must be a thing of the past. Today the world has voted for the protection of the world’s majestic whales.

“Whaling has lost its social license on a global scale. Whaling is a cruel, outdated and unnecessary industry, and today’s vote affirms the world’s commitment to the protection of these gentle giants.

“Whales face a greater number of threats today that at any stage in their past. Climate change, entanglement in fishing nets, plastic pollution, underwater noise and ship strikes threaten our ocean giants. Our whales need help, not harpoons.

“Australia stood tall for the whales at this IWC meeting. The Australian Government led the charge to save the ban on whaling, and also increased pressure on Japan to cease its controversial ‘scientific whaling’ programs,” concluded Mahto.

Under the Government of Japan’s “Way Forward” proposal to change the rules of the IWC, Japan was also pushing to change the IWC’s voting rules so that decisions like the setting of whaling quotas could be made by a simple majority, rather than the current three quarters majority. That proposal failed too.

Australia has been a global leader in whale conservation since the Fraser government banned whaling in 1979. Australia took and won the landmark International Court of Justice legal case against Japan in 2014.

AMCS is attending the meeting. The 89 nation IWC meets every two years. The full Commission meeting is taking place in Florianopolis, Brazil 10-14 September, ending today.


For interviews with Tooni Mahto, AMCS Campaigns Manager, contact:
Shane Cucow, Senior Communications Officer
0423 544 979 / [email protected]