The fate of the gentle giants of the seas may be decided this week at the international whaling commission in Anchorage, Alaska. The main item under discussion for delegates from some 75 countries will be the 21 year old moratorium on commercial whaling. The director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Joth Singh, said they have been fighting for years to protect whales, and called for a global campaign.
Japan, the leader of the pro-hunting group, has long argued that research is allowed on dead whales. Critics, including Britain and the United States, respond that most of the meat ends up in shops and restaurants.
But the spokesman for Japan’s fisheries agency, Hideki Moronuki, insisted the IWC is not the right body to decide the issue. He said a new organisation is needed to debate the contentious issue. Scientists say that more than 30,000 whales have been hunted and killed in the two decades of the moratorium, and more must be done to stop the practice.
Anti-whaling forces claim Japan’s influence is slipping, and even Tokyo admits they do not have enough support to overturn the ban.