A proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic Ocean was beaten this week at a meeting in Brazil of the International Whaling Commission, or IWC.
Whales are mammals that live in the sea and some are among the largest animals that have ever lived.
The proposal received support from 39 countries but was rejected by 25. That was just short of the three-quarters majority required for approval. Brazil first introduced the proposal in 2001.
Japan and other countries have argued that the sanctuary is unnecessary because countries are not currently doing so. commercial whaling in the South Atlantic.
environmental groups and ecologists argued that the sanctuary would protect the whales from being hunted, trapped in fishing gear, or struck by ships.
Brazilian Environment Minister Edson Duarte promised to fight for the proposal in future meetings.
“It (is) so important for whale conservation around the world, but especially in the South Atlantic,” he said.
Besides Japan, countries opposed to the sanctuary included Iceland and Norway. They are pushing for the return of some sustainable whaling and are unlikely to change their vote unless their demand is met.
The commission banned commercial whaling in the 1980s. Japan is proposing to bring it back this year with catch limits. Japan has hunted whales for hundreds of years as a cheaper form of meat.
Daven Joseph is the roving ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, another country that voted against the measure. He said the proposal had some value but “fails year after year because there is a lack of respect for everyone’s opinions in this organization”.
Joseph said sustainable commercial whaling could provide important food for developing island nations. And, some countries have a cultural and nutritional use of whale meat that should be respected.
Conservationists say commercial whaling has proven difficult to oversee in the past. They say it threatens whale populations. Some countries say there is simply no place for whaling in the modern world.
But Joseph predicted that progress on many conservation measures would be impossible without compromise.
Several indigenous or ethnic groups also spoke out on Tuesday in favor of their own subsistence hunting. Such hunting is authorized by the rules of the commission. Catch limits for subsistence hunting are up for renewal this year.
“Since childhood, I was trained in hunting,” said Vladimir Piny, a Chukchi-born whaling captain in northern Russia. “I cannot grow tomatoes or bananas. The Arctic would never be To allow me to do it.
Japan accuses the CBI of supporting anti-whaling nations rather than trying to reach a compromise.
The subject of commercial whaling has divided the IWC for many years and neither side seems willing to compromise.
The conference ends on Friday, September 14.
I am Lucija Millonig.
Alice Bryant adapted this AP story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
words in this story
sanctuary – nm a place where someone or something is protected
commercial – adj. concerned about making money
whaling – nm the act of hunting whales
environmentalist – not. someone who works to protect animals, plants and natural resources
sustainable – adj. can be used without being completely exhausted or destroyed
subsistence hunting – nm hunting which is practiced solely to provide food for people
To allow – v. to allow