The meeting of the international whaling commission, being held in Chile this year, is always a draw for demonstrators. Protestors in Santiago were buoyed by their government’s decision to end all whale hunting, and plans to establish a whale sanctuary along its coastline.
But the chances of any other significant developments coming out of the week-long meeting are slim. National divisions on the subject of whaling are deep, and the assembly has deemed it easier not to discuss the most contentious issues, like Japanese calls for more hunting.
Chilean ministers called for unity and tried to lead by example, saying they had already sent a bill to the national congress declaring Chile free of the capture and hunting of whales.
Japan insists it gets a bad press and denies the one thousand whales it catches each year for scientific purposes end up on dining tables across the country. It wants to discuss legalising coastal whaling with the 79 other countries present.
Talk on that was ruled out last year prompting Japan to threaten to pull out of the IWC.
It has been left off the agenda again.