Bitter disappointment as creation of vital safe haven sanctuary for whales in South Atlantic voted down at IWC by pro-whaling nations

Humane Society International

  • Douglas Hoffman/

FLORIANÓPOLIS, Brazil—Animal protection organisation Humane Society International has reacted with bitter disappointment as the creation of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic is voted down by pro-whaling nations such as Japan, Korea, Norway and Russia. The vote, which required a three-quarter majority to pass, resulted in a tally of 39 Yes, 25 No, 3 Abstentions, and 2 Not Present.

Grettel Delgadillo, deputy director of HSI/Latin America, says: “It’s a bitter disappointment that — in Brazil of all places — the proposal for a South Atlantic whale sanctuary has once again been defeated by Japan and its allies. Brazil and the other champions of the sanctuary have made a strong and principled case on ecological and scientific grounds. This first vote at IWC 67 shows how determined the whaling nations are to oppose sensible conservation measures and to obstruct the IWC’s evolution as a full-fledged conservation body. The rejection of the South Atlantic sanctuary is a genuine sign of bad faith and continuing intrigue by the Japan bloc, and it bodes very poorly for the crucial votes that will come later this week.

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“The nations of the region want to create – and they have every right to create — a safe haven for whales under continued threats from commercial whaling, death from entanglement in fishing gear, marine pollution, and injury from ship strikes. The proposed South Atlantic whale sanctuary encompasses a vital breeding and calving area that would protect whales and their habitats. It’s a common sense proposal directly informed by the fact that cetacean species and populations are still recovering from decades of merciless commercial whaling in the twentieth century.”

HSI’s experts at the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission are available for interview. Contact Wendy Higgins,