22 Jun 2010

Under Pressure, Commission Discusses Lifting Whaling Ban

The International Whaling Commission on Monday began what promises to be a contentious, high-stakes meeting in Morocco on whether to maintain a 24-year-old moratorium on commercial whaling in the face of pressure from Japan, Norway and Iceland to permit the hunt.

Representatives of the convention’s 88 member governments gathered behind closed doors in the Moroccan resort city of Agadir to discuss a 10-year compromise plan proposed by the United States and other anti-whaling nations that would allow the three countries to continue whaling but at significantly lower levels and under tight monitoring.

It would also create a whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean. Japan, Iceland and Norway have long defied the moratorium by claiming exemptions and conducting their whaling under unilaterally determined quotas. More than 33,000 whales have been killed since the ban took effect in 1986, undermining the commission in the eyes of critics.

More on NYTimes.com