Pacific nations denied whale sanctuary
It is the third time that this proposal has failed to get the three-quarter majority vote needed for the sanctuary, which would cover around 26 million square kilometres of the Pacific, south of the equator.
"The wishes of the region have been ignored," said Chris Howe, Conservation Director at WWF-New Zealand. "This sanctuary would have provided enormous benefits to both whales and people in the Pacific but once again it was blocked by countries taking orders from Tokyo."
Japan and the majority of its allies, including new recruits Mauritania and Tuvalu, voted against the proposal along with other pro-whaling nations. For many years questions have been asked about Japanese vote buying in relation to the IWC. According to WWF, the rejection of the sanctuary proposal is a further example of this.
Many whale populations in the Pacific remain depleted as a result of past commerical whaling. For example, humpback whales have not reappeared in significant numbers in their former breeding grounds in Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, and New Zealand.
WWF works closely with governments in the Pacific as well as regional Pacific organizations to conserve and manage whale populations. It assists govenments to identify conservation measures such as national sanctuaries and economic initiatives such as whale watching.
For further information:
Head of Press, WWF International
Communications Manager, WWF Species Programme