The 27th convention of the International Whaling Commission (I.W.C) came under pressure at its opening?
The 27th convention of the International Whaling Commission (I.W.C) came under pressure at its opening on Monday (23 June) by conservationists calling for a complete stop of killing whales.
The demonstrators, from Friends of the Earth, stages a symbolic whale funeral near the conference building as whaling delegates from 15 countries arrived. The Friends argue there is now no reason to kill whales as all their products can be substituted.
But as the meeting started, it seemed unlikely the convention would vote for a moratorium on all whale hunting. The moratorium idea has failed three times previously to secure the two thirds majority required by I.W.C. rules.
The United States delegation, backed by the Australian delegation and other anti-whaling members, were expected to settle for stricter catch controls during the week-long meeting.
Japan and the Soviet Union, which both have delegates at the London convention, account for 80 per cent of the world's whale hunting.
At the start of the convention, the Soviet Union announced it would phase out one of its three Antarctic whaling fleets in a gesture to growing conservationist pressure. And the Soviet delegate, Dr. I. Nikonorov, gave cautious approval to the Australian plan for reducing catch levels and safeguarding endangered species.
The Japanese delegate, Mr. I. Fujita, said some agreement could be reached providing the new rules took account of Japan's needs and that limits were not in excess of conservation needs.
The Australian proposal called for three categories of protection. In the first group were totally protected species like the Giant Blue Whale which was once hunted almost to extinction.
The second category was for an automatic cut-off in hunting species which fell below danger level. The third was for carefully regulated hunting of stocks deemed to be in no danger of over-depletion.
The conference was opened by the British junior Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Edward Bishop.
SYNOPSIS: In London...a conference to consider the future of the world's largest creature...the whale. The opening day of the International Whaling Commission's meeting saw conservationist out in force. The British Friends or the Earth staged a mock whale funeral in protest against whale hunting.
The twenty-seventh convention was attended by delegates from the Commission's fifteen member nations. In the past, several delegates have called for a ben on whale hunting. They have always been outvoted. This year they were expected to settle for stricter controls.
Japan and the Soviet Union account for eighty per cent of the world's whale hunting. They have agreed to consider limiting their catches to comply with proposals aimed at conserving the world's largest mammal.
The week-long convention was opened by the British junior Agriculture Minister, Edward Bishop. He praised an Australian plan to reduce catch levels and safeguard several endangered species of whales.