Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 18:27 UK

Decision time for whale conservation

Cristian Maquieira
Cristian Maquieira

Member governments of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) should seriously consider proposals to end two decades of deadlock, says IWC chairman Cristian Maquieira. By giving some ground, he argues, anti-whaling nations might secure a better deal for conservation.

Japanese whaling vessel capturing a whale (Image: AP)
What we are seeking by bringing all whaling under the control of the IWC is to significantly reduce the number of whales killed and to promote whale conservation

In the acceptance speech I gave a year ago when I was elected to chair the International Whaling Commission (IWC), I reminded IWC commissioners that they represented not only their governments but also the hopes and aspirations of their respective populations regarding whale conservation.

I also pointed out that the international community watches what the IWC does and how it protects whales.

As chairman, I took on the challenge of trying to bring the 88 member governments together around a common vision, to bring an end to two decades of whaling effectively outside international control.

I anticipated in my speech that the task was enormous and the outcome by no means evident or certain; but I also believed the challenge was worth pursuing in case it could usher in a situation that most parties would find more acceptable than the current stand-off.

The intervening year has seen many formal and informal sessions of a group of IWC member governments representing the various regional interests at play (including pro- and anti-whaling countries).

Seven weeks ago, IWC vice-chair Anthony Liverpool and I jointly issued a paper to help frame what could be an IWC consensus decision.

Two weeks before the decisive final sessions of the IWC's annual meeting start in Agadir, Morocco, the outcome continues to be uncertain; and yet for whales, for whalers and for everyone interested in the issue, a great deal is at stake.

Starting point

The most essential ingredients of the potential compromise that the vice-chair and I presented seven weeks ago are these:

  • all whaling to be brought under IWC control for a 10-year period, with countries agreeing not to go hunting unilaterally under provisions such as "scientific whaling" and to abide by quotas set by the IWC
  • quotas to be set considerably lower than current levels
  • establishment of a comprehensive set of control measures, such as observers on ships, and DNA registers of harvested whales and market sampling to detect and deter illegal whaling
  • whaling only permitted by the three countries already doing it (Iceland, Japan and Norway)
  • subsistence hunting by indigenous peoples unaffected

The vice-chair and I described our paper as "a starting point for further discussions and negotiations rather than a firm proposal."

Blue whale (AP)

No country must come out with a feeling of humiliation, and the future of whale conservation globally must be guaranteed

We warned that, naturally, "there is a tendency for governments of all persuasions to take a position that 'we' have given up more than 'them'".

We encouraged governments to examine our proposal against the status quo that has dominated the IWC in the last two decades.

In this status quo, despite the existence of an international moratorium on commercial whaling, three countries catch whales outside of IWC control and will presumably continue to do so unless we find a common way forward in Agadir.

We asked everyone to try and avoid evaluating our proposal against their own strongly-held principles.

What we are seeking by bringing all whaling under the control of the IWC is to reduce significantly the number of whales killed and to promote whale conservation, especially of the most endangered species and including support for whale sanctuaries.

Package deal

Whaling countries say they would be conceding a lot if they relinquished what they consider to be their rights under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling - to catch whales for scientific purposes (Japan) or under objection or reservation to the moratorium on commercial whaling that was adopted in 1982 (Iceland and Norway).

On the other side, countries described as "anti-whaling" fear to be seen as caving in on hard-fought conservation measures, especially the commercial whaling moratorium and the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.

A crucial ingredient of the "package" is the actual quotas to which the three countries would agree to adhere.

Harpoon. Image: BBC
Objection - A country formally objects to the IWC moratorium, declaring itself exempt. Example: Norway
Scientific - A nation issues unilateral 'scientific permits'; any IWC member can do this. Example: Japan
Aboriginal - IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food. Example: Alaskan Inupiat

We inserted example numbers in our submission.

Like some of the other ingredients, they have aroused strong passions in different quarters: but as we said at the time, they are just examples, and are up for negotiation along with every other aspect of the package.

It is always difficult to say whether a glass is half full or half empty; but what is clear is that for a solution to be found, no country must come out with a feeling of humiliation, and the future of whale conservation globally must be guaranteed.

No one can win everything, and no one can lose everything.

So far, all the IWC member governments that have commented have spoken against what we're proposing, regardless of whether they want to catch whales or whether they want to reinforce whale protection.

That was expected - we never said it was our first choice either.

It is now time, however, for governments to speak together about what they are ready to achieve collectively.

Bold step

I am aware that it would be a very bold step for countries with strongly held views in favour of whale protection to consider that the three remaining whaling countries might be allowed to continue some form of hunting under the aegis of the IWC.

I am also aware that it would be an equally bold step for the three whaling countries to relinquish what they see as their existing right to go whaling and set their own quotas.

The lively discussion that has ensued since the vice-chair and I issued our proposal is exactly what we wanted and what we expected.

In the 21st Century, international policy cannot be well-informed and effective without public accountability and the engagement of civil society.

That's what I meant when in my acceptance speech last year I referred to the public's hopes and aspirations.

Those aspirations and hopes differ markedly depending on what side of the fence one sits.

But if any of the different stakeholders feel we have not given them a fair hearing, we are bound for failure.

There are now less than three weeks left before 25 June, the last day of the IWC meeting.

My hope is that by that time, member governments will have listened to each other, and to civil society, and they will be in a position to adopt a decision that shows openness and wisdom - and helps ensure the conservation of whales across the oceans for this generation and those to come.

Cristian Maquieira is chairman of the International Whaling Commission and Chilean Ambassador to Paraguay

The views expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author, and do not represent those of any IWC member government

The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website

Do you agree with Cristian Maquieira? Will bringing all whaling under the control of the IWC significantly cut the number of whales killed? Is it possible for the Commission to allow both limited hunting and promote whale conservation? Or are the divisions between pro- and anti-whaling nations too great for a consensus to be reached?

So long as man views the world around him as a resource to exploit for his own profit, man will not advance, rather rot. In this case, it is the cetaceans we are talking about, but really this blind, economic driven way of life will move onto the next resource, and annihilate it as well. Australia is the 'lucky country' only because we sell our soul to the world in the form of minerals, including Japan. Australia appears to be fighting whaling, but vote driven words are one thing, human action is another.
Dane Dowling, Melbourne, Australia

Obviously the more gradually things change the more pleasant the process, but what is so different about the whale campaign is that there is no time, the whales are dying out, species have become EXTINCT, whilst others are left with only one known specimen left in the world. A gradual process isn't good enough; culture and embarrassment are not good enough reasons. The culture will change as soon as the whales die out. Japan should make their own food, not steal off a wild species. How come they are allowed to rob my ocean, my world of whales, of which there used to be millions, just for culture's sake. Come on Cristian! Humans are more adaptable than they think in today's world.
Mati, Great Missenden, UK

I think we should just leave countries to their own devices. If Japan wishes to hunt for whales, so what? They don't waste the whale, they eat it. There is nothing wrong with that. I hope one day I will be able to experience eating a whale one day.
Danny Jenkins, Wem, United Kingdom

I totally with all the comments agains whailing, but it that is to stop, should we not stop all the other forms of animal hunting and farming, such as the culling of baby seals in Canada? Why is that different from killing whales? Or the farming of tigers for chinese medicine?
Alex Marques, London

It is just funny to read all comments here. I am a Japanese and I hate whale meat and never will eat until the end of my life. However, it is right for Japanese as long as we can maintain population of whale. What's the difference between eating beef and whale? It is only one need to watch closely and maintain population. If all those blame whaling are ones never eat beef, chicken, pork, deer, bear, rabbit or any other animals, I can sit and discuss this non-sense. Otherwise, leave the matter alone let decide IWC!
MT, Japan

Do you eat pigs yet shout against eating of whale meat or dog meat?

Or a vegetarian who only stridently campaigns against whale killing and not pig slaughter? Yet pigs are intelligent animals, certainly more intelligent than most dogs, likely some whales too. Then seems like you could be accused of being a hypocrite. Addressing the killing of all animals in a logical manner instead of just picking on one or two would seem far more worthy of effort & possible of success. Disband the wasteful IWC and set up International Meat Eating Commission instead.
Jeffx, London

All of the laws created do not mean much without enforcement. Who will enforce the laws that are needed. Countries like Japan, will nod yes to all provisions, then paint the word scientific on the side and continue to kill whales as if there weren't any laws. The Japanese will continue to kill whales until there are no more. THat is when they will comply.
Joe clark, Philadelphia Pennsylvania

First I would like to say that I advocate for the rights of Indigenous cultures to follow their traditions in any way shape or form. However there is one very clear strong exception to this rule and follows the idea that traditions must change with the times in order to remain fluid and retain value. Any tradition which puts the environment in more risk than it already is should be stopped. Following these traditions in the present times, such as whaling in Iceland, Norway and Japan, goes against the primal values of the ancestral cultures of these and (in my opinion) every culture is based on; Live in harmony with the planet, only take what we need, be guardians to the planet. No culture can live like they used to in the past where any meat is fair game. Back when we were hunter gatherers it wasn't a problem, and much respect was given to the animal, all parts were used, and in many cases, no more than what was needed was taken. Many indigenous cultues traditionally have a!

strong respect for the balance of give and take when it comes to the earth. But we've come too far removed from that as a collective, plus we have the means, technology and manpower to live sustainably and for everyone to be fed without killing species already under threat such as whales. In this day and age there is no way that the hunting of these animals can be seen as ethical.
kateluther, Vancouver

There is an estimated 100.000 minke whales. Norway catches ca. 600 each year. Is the minke whale in need of protection, so no to become extinct? Ofcourse not. Most fish stocks in the world, on the other hand is. The British have destroyed most of the fish stocks they have. So have the spaniards. The canadians didnt manage to save the cod outside New Foundland. It's charming to watch all the brits who have commented here. They seem to care so much about this minke whale, who is perfectly safe, while the fish stocks outside their own window is on the verge of total collapse. It would be better if people became less religious about whaling and started get the facts straigt.
Arild, Bergen, Norway

We are killing our planet. Whaling is one of the things we can do without, so why not. When Japan stops whaling I may actually buy something Japanese. All of you ladies that took Premarin for years, know that the mares who stood in confined space to provide it for you, paid for their sacrifice by dying in Japanese slaughterhouses. We made a deal with the horse, he carried us, plowed for us, pulled for us and we gave him succor. Only we didn't live up to our end of the bargain. Norway exports so little to US that I don't have that means of protest, but I do open my mouth to anyone who will stand still long enough. The same goes for the gulf oil spill. I ask everyone on the planet who reads this to say a prayer for the gulf every day at 12 noon and a prayer for the whales every day at 3 in the afternoon. Maybe enough thoughts will interlace and manifest a result.
Barbara Schatt, Kent, WA

The whales of the world belong to all the people of the world, JAPAN. Iceland,Norway. Have killed more than their fair share of whales, What whales are left belong to the rest of the world to enjoy.They should not be let near any whales.. I believe Australia are taken Japan to court this might be a good way of given a bad press, Our Goverment should be looking after our interest AVE KILLED ALL THEIR SHARE OF WHALES
brian griffiths, alicante. spain

We should SAVE WHALES not WHALING! Whaledefenders Stop the killing! Commercial whaling ? NO WAY!
Hans Lak, Eindhoven The Netherland

I've noticed none of the comments are from Japan, Iceland, or Norway. This is a shame, for we are negotiating with them, NOT dictating to them. They simply do not see the problem the same way we do. We see it as saving an inteligant peacful species. They see lunch. What we have done TOGETHER since the formation of the I.W.C. has been nothing short of incredible to save the species. I can only assume from their point of view, now that the population is increasing every year,why can't they increase their harvest? I'am sorry that they don't see things the same way I /we do. I fear without compromise, without respect to wants of those who disagree with us, we will have lost sight of our mutuial goal, to save the whales.
robert singleton, orlando,fl.,u.s.a.

I think whaling should be banned completely. We as humans have no right to kill these beautiful, gentle animals for what, money as usual. I think the governments of Japan, Norway and Iceland are a disgrace.It makes me really angry when people on this site make the most stupid comments that we as humans have the right to kill anything we like. Well we don't Brandon in USA. Humans have made so many animals, birds etc endangered on this planet, we have to stop.
sandra carpendale, northampton, england

Well ultimately what it comes down to is do we want to be civilised or barbarian? There are 195 countries in the world and only three of them insist on slaughtering whales. Put another way there are 6.8 billion people on earth and less than 0.02% of them support cold bloodedly slaughtering whales. To suggest that these three nations should be allowed to continue this behaviour, let alone expand it is revolting. Perhaps we should just let them do as they wish, but insitute and enforce stringent trade sanctions on these nations, if the japanese were no longer able to sell their cars, electronics, tourism, banking etc perhaps that whale meat would start to taste a little less good? Thats my practical suggestion, on a personal level having seen graphic footage of mother and calf whales being slaughtered I would, if given half the chance sink those whale boats without a second thought. (Without loss of life before I get moaned at, five minutes to get off the boat your choice....)!
owain, Antigua

Since the IWC created a moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan, Iceland and Norway have brutally slaughtered 25,000 whales! And look what Japan is doing in Taiji with their abhorrent slaughter of dolphins for 9 straight months out of the year annually. And all in the name of profit! How can we ever trust that any of these countries would abide by this new IWC proposal. They haven't listened for the past 24 years and they won't listen now. We simply cannot trust them! It's high time we put an end to commercial whaling worldwide now!
Barb Dunsmore, San Diego, CA USA

These creatures are beautiful, if we start killing them there won't be any more alive for future generations to marvel at there greatness.
Lucinda Shaw, Baltimore USA

Unless 'we' (anti-whaling countries) are prepared to go to a trade or 'hot' war about this (which we aren't), the only way to stop the whaling completely is by persuading the majority of the public in Japan, Norway, and Iceland that they really don't want whaling going on in their name. This is where the majority of concerned effort should be going - in persuasion / education of the general public in the whaling nations (& NB people resist having their minds changed if they feel under attack or unfairly treated).
David Braunholtz, Aberdeen, Scotland

I agree with a complete ban on whaling. Can quotas be enforced? If so progress might be made; but it is doubtful.
RHDrummond, Edinburgh/Scotland

I think measures should also be taken to appeal to Japanese people to not eat whales... I havent eaten them before but is it that delicious as to risk the extinction of the largest mammal in the whole. Only with the decrease in demand can there be a decrease in commercial supply and subsequently in the hunting of whales. Stop eating whales!!! Its dumb that there are ongoing campaigns to stop people from eating sharks fin but non to stop the consumption of whales. It might be a small percentage of people who do that but it is a pressing matter!
KPX, Singapore

Most of those opposing whaling are displaying a magnifficent set of double standards. To single out one animal and sheltering this and allowing hunting on most other animals based of emotions - that sounds like the act od a child !

Norway does not vigorously hunt whales - There are but a few vessels tha participate in this - boats that are closely monitored. The are allowed to take out their quota - and will end up in jail if they shoot more whales than this. Using the most common arguement CRUELTY . How about bullfighting (just for entertainment!) Slaughterhouses ? Chickenfarms whatever ??? Media have a responsibility to display a balaced story - not a Hollywod tearjerking sequel...
Andy waters, moose jaw\Canada

As a Kiwi who has lived for over 15 years in Japan, i have had many discussions with Japanese about this issue. I have no problems with Japanese (or anyone for that matter), eating whale. What I do have an issue with is Japanese coming down to our neighbourhood and, over our most vehement protests, harvesting what we seek to protect. It is no different than me stealing from my neighbour's vege garden. Let the Japanese harvest all the whales they want from their own waters, and when they kill the very last one they can congratulate themselves on how well they have enforced their "cultural right". But get the hell out of my back garden, and stay out.
Mark Berghan, Auckland, New Zealand

the only way to truly prove that we have learned anything at all from mankind's irresponsible decimation of the oceans is to let nature, which but for our interference would determine population and diversity of marine life, dictate to us the relative proportions of species, and if we can't act sustainably, rigorous enforcement should be brought in to stop our excesses. It is not enough to pay lip service to principles and then say we are going to try to monitor our evil acts form now on! Wrong is wrong!
Paul Bagnall, Stoke on Trent, England

We humans are taking everything out of the sea in such quatities that soon there will be no fish in the sea at all of any "value". Killing whales is another way of raping "resources" and in the end will be to the detriment of all of humanity. Unless we rein in our savaging of the oceans, we will be the big losers in the future. We do not need to take these majestic creature for our survival. They are worth far more alive as part of the worlds eco system. We have already interfered with the balance of the oceans by plundering fish stocks for our own use. Lets draw a line in the sand and stop the killing of whales at least.
Trevor, Nuriootpa, South Australia

I am definately agaist the killing of whales but I think we need to be realsistic in this situation. The outright banning of anything doesn't work. Look at prohibition in the US, the war on drugs, land mines. What ever decision is made at the IWC, Japan Iceland and Norway are going to continue to hunt whales. However if the idustry is regulated to a certain degree and quoatas are set by an international body then at least there is some control over the amount of killing each year. Perhpas then we can concentrate on educating the young of the countries in Iceland , Japan and Norway. It may take a generation or two but hopefully these people will evetually see reason and cease commercial whaling in their respective countries. Also - just as an aside it's interesting to note the reasons many people give for their disgust in the slaughtering of whales is due to the animals high intelligence. I pity the slaughtered animals out there that are not so intelligent and don't get the same vocal outrage.
Tim Goble, Sydney Australia

Acceptance of this proposal, which is clearly a response to the consistent strategy of just three countries led by Japan, would be a disaster in international conservation affairs. It would show the sheer gutlessness of the majority and the benefits of blackmail. The obvious way forward is to modernise the treaty. Why on earth is this not the main concern of the majority? Christian Macquiera's proposal is a disgrace.
Geoff Mosley, Melbourne Australia

I disagree. It's like saying that maybe slavery is ok if we just enslave a reduced quota of people. If Lincoln had taken that tact, would it have stopped slavery in the US? Maquieira writes that "no country must come out with a feeling of humiliation." Why is this so? Why does helping whalers "save face" trump our common global need to protect biodiversity and eliminate the obscene violence our species inflicts on these amazing, intelligent and precious creatures?
Dwight Owens, Victoria, BC

I think it is completely absurd that the "world community" is so violently opposed to whaling. This vitriolic stance is full of self-righteous bigotry and a genuine xenophobia from the very people who claim to be conscious and accepting of other cultures -- namely liberals. I, for one, wholeheartedly support Sovereign nations determining, on their own (a.k.a. unilaterally), to permit or prohibit whaling, fishing, elk hunting or whatever other source of food or income they so choose. Whaling has been a staple of the cultures of Scandinavia, Asia and, many other indigenous peoples around the world. Regulation? Fine. Like deer or moose. But moratorium? Absurd and unintelligent.
Brandon, Westford, Massachusetts, USA

I have a friend of mine who like to break into people's houses and take their things. He doesn't do it to be mean. He just needs to support his family. Now he is making society a very good deal. He will REDUCE that amount of robberies he commits by 1/2 if he is allowed to keep the the takings from his remaining outings without legal consequences. It sounds crazy, I know. But I am offering a reduction of home robberies by 1/2! How is this deal not good!
Andre From Sacto, Sacramento, CA USA

Anyone who does not support the IWC proposal is ensuring the decimation of all whale species. The proposal closes loopholes, reduces whales killed, closely monitors the numbers and most importantly brings full control back to the IWC, the only international whaling regulatory authority in the world. Without the IWC, whaling would be uncontrolled. Without the proposal, Japan may simply join Norway and Iceland and hunt openly by "objecting" to the moratorium. Silly and scientifically unsubstantiated emotional reasons merely advocate Preservationism. The IWC propsal reflects true Conservationism.
JDamer, Trenton NJ USA

When are we as humans going to get it? We are here to share the earth with all other living creatures!!! We are NOT here to dominate, conquer and abuse. All living things deserve to live in peace, and not to be worried about noisy ships coming into their environment to savagely slaughter whales who are simply living, and minding their own business. We think we are so much smartern than them, we abuse everything in our path- we neglect and abuse each other, the environment, our food- everything. The IWC needs to ban whaling- period. Japan needs to STOP pretending, its enough already.
Mandy, Montreal

I think all whaling should be illegal. It is impossible for the human race to follow a quota and abide by the rules. Representatives from Japan will say to your face they will abide by the law and then turn around the very next second and do what they want. I don't believe that putting the power into the IWC's hands will solve the problem as there are people in the IWC with their own agenda and follow that agenda under the guise of the IWC. If anyone has seen movies like 'The Cove' you know very well people will do what they want. The only way to help save the many species of whales in our world is to make whaling (all species) illegal.
Christine Robertson, Alberta, Canada

There are aspects to this story that many people are completely unaware of. First let me say that my initial reaction to whaling is anger. However, the position of many countries, mine included, has a strong degree of cultural imperialism. I agree that whaling should be greatly curbed and populations allowed to recover. This was the initial promise that the IWC made to whaling countries to lure them into joining their commission. It should be noted that these anti-whaling countries of the IWC then extended the agreed upon limitations without full member consent, and then pointed their fingers and shouted "barbarians"! Is objecting so much worse than subjecting? They hunt, we lied. Everyone needs to accept their faults here.
Amanda, Texas, U.S.

"Quotas to be set considerably lower than current levels?" In fact, Norway would be allowed to kill 44 more minke whales annually, compared to what they have hunted on average over the last decade! And Iceland only recently skyrocketed its hunt, obviously to increase political pressure for the present debate. The deal would give green light for the IWC-legitimated, commercially motivated kill of up to 1,400 whales annually - including hunting in a whale sanctuary, killing of endangered species and herewith undermining the most important decisions for the conservation of whales of the last 2 1/2 decades. This deal is outrageous!
Sandra Altherr, Munich, Germany

There are lots more areas we need to look at other than a minor issue of whaling. To me it is a Japanese internal issue and must be left as it is as they believe this is the best way to deal with the matter. I do not believe the approach taken currently by most Anglo-Saxon countries, in particular, help resolve the issue. Japan, which is the major contributor for IWC and the scientific research, can have the option to leave the IWC and continue the hunting just like some other countries are doing. Why not!
Matt Ito, ZRH, CH

Whaling should be stopped and every country should agree and not illegal whaling ever should be permitted. Also, it is very essential to convince people that Eco-tourism is more profitable than whaling.
Engr Salam, Banladesh

I have been reading all the press and opinions on this matter considering traditions and needs. I also made a very elaborated calculation for fair quotas for Japan,Norway and Iceland considering whale population. I think it should be 0!
costin, bucharest, romania

I'm quite happy with Japan and Norway continuing to hunt whales as long as it is understood their whale-catchers become legitimate targets for hunting by the worlds navies. The practice in hunting down and destroying these vessels will be invaluable in the fight against piracy and should therefore be considered as a service to mankinds security.
Chris Edgecombe, Bredgar England

Whaling in a scientific purpose is ridiculous surely after over 100 years of whaling we know how a whale works internally and if we don't thats what ultrasonic scanners are for.
John taylor, Brighton, England

Much is made of destruction of sentient creatures on God's good Earth with thoughts of tears shed at loss of loved ones and comparisons to stories of childhood significance but what of the Earth. What right do people have given the state of the Earth and what we as a species have done to it. The seas acidifying in direct relation to partial pressure of Carbon emissions released; The shoals of fish seen as simply something to be exploited with nary a thought of upwelling currents bringing nutrients to the untold abundance of microorganisms that live in the Sea.. Compromise and anything short of a complete stoppage of the destruction of Whales spells a complete failure to understand the crisis upon us.
Dale Lanan, Longmont, Colorado, USA

I agree that it an all or nothing issue, and in this case, it should definitely be nothing. Did anyone see "The Cove"? That truly outlines the issues involved with Japan and whaling...
Kate, London, UK

All whaling should stop - we're already destroying our biodiversity and this is just another nail in the coffin. Japan should stop eating animals to extinction (Bluefin tuna)! If all trade of whales were stopped; I think Iceland, Greenland (they hunt too!) and Norway wouldn't have anyone to sell too!
Geets, Swindon

Whaling has been out of the control of the IWC because the whalers have not abided by rules. What will change? The 3 whaling nations have over the years been increasing their quotas way above the numbers they can catch in preparation for the IWC issuing quotas which they can then say are lowered - May I remind also that the quotas issued are not based on science but on political grooming. The IWC has been thus far unable to control the 3 whaling nations, what makes you think that you can tell China and South Korea that they do not have the right to hunt whales? Well done Oz, a country standing up to the whalers hunting in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary - oh yes, a sanctuary that was designated by the IWC and Mr. Maquieira and his package is giving Japan the right to hunt minke and endangered fin whales within this sanctuary.
Tor, Bristol, UK

As an American living in the UK, I find that culturally, the UK and US find whaling fundamentally abhorrent, and so they should. Any legalisation of whaling is a step back to the dark ages, remniscent of appeasing the gods with the sacrifice of a young virgin. Trying to stop a fundamental wrong by making it legal is absurd. So, given that you're dealing with nations which refuse to follow the current IWC rules, how can this man be in any way sure that they will follow the next lot of rules? Do I want to see frozen packaged whale meat in Iceland? This man is not sitting in reality.
Cynthia Walsh, Chippenham Wilts UK

The approach of Mr. Christian Maquieira is well balanced and oriented in the right direction. Somehow, I believe that it should not be projected as a controversy between Pro and Anti whaling nations. All the member countries must be mobilized in a direction which strengthens the life of endangered specie. What is the point in exempting any country which have objection to protect endangered specie. What is the meaning of scientific whaling when these creatures are endangered? Who would be benefited most in the future when numbers of whales would be increased? In my opinion, countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland only. Why these countries do not think about their own future generations. They are not opposing the countries protecting whales rather they are snatching the rights of their own future generations.
Sanjay Singh Thakur, Indore,India

I most most certainly do not agree with Cristian Maquieria. I recognize that he is acting in good faith and trying to make the best of a bad situation. However, we must not lose sight of the simple essentials of the matter: whaling is archaic, barbaric, cruel, cowardly and economically worthless warfare against sentient, intelligent creatures unable to defend themselves. Its continuation into the twenty-first century is disgrace to us all. It must stop -- not tomorrow, but today. creatures
Michael Tyler,

We do not support whaling in any form. This industry has no reason to exist and whaling should be banned altogether. Consequently we are in total disagreement with Cristian Maquieira. Furthermore, Mr. Maquieria does not represent the Latinamerican and EU civil society and governments. Limited whaling and preservation of these species is a contradiction in terms. Approximately five whaling countries, an insignificant percentage of the total number of all world nations, can and shall not impose their will on the international community.
Mariana Almeida, Quito - Ecuador, South america

Whilst I agree that there is an overwhelming need to come away with a deal that progresses a reduction in whaling, even if it cannot yet hasten its ending, the evidence provided by the years of scientific research that most whales have a high level of intelligence and how little we truly understand them, combined with what we know we are doing to the oceans in the way of chemical & noise pollution means that man as a species can no longer look upon this planet as ours to do with as we wish. If the oceans 'belong' to anyone, it is most definitely the cetaceans, as over 30 million years of their evolution has given them mastery of their environment. It is time we accept that we are little more than invaders & that exploiting them is doing untold & unknown harm. National pride in this day and age is a ridiculous excuse to allow a barbaric, inhuman & unnecessary practice being tolerated in our global community. If a deal cannot bring about an end to non-Aboriginal hunting within a reasonable time scale, we are likely to cause the extinction of several species that my be closer to our intelligence than we give credit for, all be it a very alien one. Please do your best to remember that it is for them, not man, that you are fighting for, we are more than able to 'suffer' the lose of a 'resource', as the Icelandic Japanese & Norwegian government seem to view whales, the whales however, cannot.
Matthew Atkinson, Liverpool, UK

The only way to regulate whaling is to make it illegal. It's the only way there will ever be any real penalties involved countries who break the law. I you give an inch they will take a mile. And since when should we make something legal, even partially, because there are people doing it anyway?...
Lala, San diego California

Can the BBC's attention also be directed towards the senseless massacre each year of hundreds of the Calderon dolphin by Feroe Islanders off Denmark? The purpose of the massacre? A rite of passge to adulthood!
Simon Sloane, Singapore

We are well into the 21st Century and still the barbaric killing of whales is continuing. There is no denying the fact that many species of Whales were on the brink of extinction when whaling ceased only a few decades ago. A few species ARE extinct due to whale slaughter. Still, only 1% of any whale species enhabits the Planet today as opposed to the number of whales before commercial whaling began. What Japan is doing under the guise of "scientific research" is commercial whale slaughter - there is NO science involved. The meat is sold commercially or stored in freezers, made into pet food or fertilizer. There is no justification for whale killing. By lifting the Moratorium and allowing ANY country to kill whales for any reason is unjustified. Other countries will also want to kill whales. These are highly intelligent sentient beings and should be left to live their lives in peace in the Oceans. To allow these animals to be slaughtered in insanity.
Terri Melloway, Gold Coast, Qld. Australia

No, I think that these three countries, Japan in particular, will simply agree to the new, lower quota and then blatantly exceed it. Perhaps with a physical presence of the IWC on the whaling ships (whaling marshals?), aggressive enforcement of limits and significant consequences for over harvesting, the plan could work.
Gordon Davies, Carlsbad, California, USA

Either you cut all whaling hunting,or whalehunting will always continue,until all whales on this earth are death.i think,it is a joke to allow japan,norway etc.the rights to hunt whales even that everybody in this world knows that japan is killing whales for eating
kathleen dimson, albufeira,portugal

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