IWC rejection of South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary a missed opportunity

Press release - 25 October, 2016
Portoroz, Slovenia, 25 October 2016 - The decision of the International Whaling Commission not to designate more than a quarter of the Atlantic Ocean as a protected zone for whales is a missed opportunity according to Greenpeace International.

Despite a majority of countries attending the IWC summit in Slovenia voting in favour of designating more than 20 million square kilometres of the south Atlantic as a sanctuary where hunting would be banned, the requisite three quarters majority for the motion to pass was not achieved.

The move comes despite more than a million people having signed petitions in a host of countries calling for the sanctuary to be created.

John Frizell, a whales expert with Greenpeace International attending the meeting, said:

“Even though a majority of countries and vast swathes of the public believe a sanctuary is the best way forward for protecting whales, we are once again at an IWC meeting feeling frustrated.”

“What is the most disappointing is that all these efforts are ultimately being undermined by IWC member countries who are thousands of miles away, not even in the southern hemisphere and some even on the other side of the world. Conversely, all members with territory in the proposed sanctuary, fully support it.”

“With all the problems currently facing whale populations that have previously been devastated by commercial whaling, it is clear they need a protected zone where they will be able not just to survive, but to rebuild and thrive.”

“It is clear that the IWC’s transformation into an entity that safeguards the conservation of whales is not yet complete and is urgently needed.”

The IWC meeting is being held in Slovenia and runs until the weekend. New proposals up for discussion include ways whales enhance the productivity of ecosystems.

Delegates are also likely to debate in some form the 30-year old moratorium on commercial whaling. Greenpeace played a crucial role in getting the ban introduced and unequivocally supports its continuance.



To view and download whale pictures click here.


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