New sanctuary for whales top of agenda at international summit

Press release - 24 October, 2016
Portoroz, Slovenia, 24 October 2016 - A new whale sanctuary covering more than 20 million square kilometres of the South Atlantic Ocean could be approved this week as nations gather for the International Whaling Commission(IWC) in Slovenia.

Greenpeace International is among the organisations that have long been campaigning for the establishment of a protected zone that would represent about a quarter of the entire Atlantic Ocean and extend from Antarctica to the equator.

Delegations are meeting in the town of Portoroz for the biennial gathering between October 20 to 28, with a decision expected on or around October 24. A three-quarters majority is required for the motion to pass.

John Frizell,  whales expert with Greenpeace International, said:

“The creation of South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary would be a huge milestone for whale protection. With the multitude of problems facing these magnificent creatures they need healthy oceans and they certainly do not need a return to commercial whaling.”

More than a million people across the world have signed petitions calling for a whale sanctuary. The move is being supported by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and Gabon.

Whales face numerous threats including hunting, noise, climate change and getting entangled in and killed by fishing gear and nets. The new sanctuary  would prohibit any hunting of whales within it.

A 30-year old moratorium on commercial whaling will be debated at the IWC. Greenpeace played a crucial role in having the ban introduced and believes the killing of whales for profit should firmly remain a thing of the past.


Notes to editors:

Click here to view the biggest individual Greenpeace petition for the sanctuary, signed by Brazilian supporters. 

Click here to view and download a selection of whale pictures.


Greg Norman, press officer, Greenpeace International, +44 (0) 7740 546 810,