The International Whaling Commission [IWC] has rejected a proposal to allow a limited number of whales to be killed for commercial reasons.
Delegates at the 62nd meeting of the IWC in Agadir, Morocco, rejected the American proposal to renew commercial whaling while a moratorium remains in place. Talks and a planned vote on the proposal broke down after pro-whaling advocates conceded that they didn't have majority support to end the ban on commercial whaling, in place since 1986.
The IWC decision was welcomed by conservation groups and ant-whaling advocates. "Lifting the moratorium on commercial whaling would have been a serious and retrograde step," said Peter Garrett, the minister for environment protection, heritage and the arts.
Yesterday, Garrett and the New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully released preliminary results from a joint Antarctic Whale Expedition to the Southern Ocean. Garrett said that non-lethal research carried out by 17 scientists would be used to better understand the population structure, distribution, movement patterns and ecological role of whales in the Southern Ocean.
New Zealand also said it would consider joining Australia in lodging proceedings in the International Court of Justice against Japan's whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.
The ICJ meeting is due to finish today (25 June).