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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006, 02:06 GMT 03:06 UK
Japan defeated in new whaling bid
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, St Kitts

File picture of a humpback whale in Maui, Hawaii
Japan says hunting for meat would mean catching fewer whales
Pro-whaling nations have lost another vote on the second day of the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting in St Kitts.

Japan had tabled a proposal to allow some of its coastal communities to hunt minke whales for local use, but anti-whaling nations defeated the plan.

However, this time Japan lost by only one vote, as the late arrival of some delegates boosted support for them.

On Friday Japan had lost two key votes by a slightly wider margin.

But there is a widespread view that the future of whales and dolphins should not be a political game of numbers.

Dutch Whaling Commissioner Giuseppe Raaphorst presented a proposal that would bring ministers together to reform what he says is a failing organisation.

"It's working very badly. It's very bad governance," he said.

"Normally, with governance you take decisions and go forward. We haven't moved forward, we are going backwards.

"We are going back in time so I think it's a very bad organisation. The only thing you can do - get the ministers together to solve it."

Even this proposal saw the commission divided. Anti-whaling countries supported it, but pro-whaling nations preferred instead another proposal from Japan.

This would see countries prepared to contemplate a return to commercial whaling come together outside the IWC to plan their future strategy.

Neither proposal was put to a vote.

The stark divide between the two camps was summed up by the comments of one Japanese delegate, who said the philosophy of anti-whaling nations in trying to prevent the hunting of whales and dolphins was somewhat akin to that of German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

See a Japanese whaling fleet in action


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