Does the U.S. support commercial whaling?

by Phil Kline

March 1, 2010

Over the years, Greenpeace and the US Government have both played instrumental roles in securing a moratorium on commercial whaling. Despite refusal to honor the moratorium by Japan, Iceland, and Norway, the moratorium has proven to be the most important whale conservation agreement in history. But the moratorium on commercial whaling is now facing its most serious threat since we helped establish it in 1986. 

commercial whaling must end

I’m here in St. Pete Beach, Florida, where the International Whaling Commission will meet tomorrow to discuss a deal that would legitimize commercial whaling for the first time in over 20 years. And by legitimizing all whaling, the proposal would secure the future of whaling instead of seeking to phase it out.  Unbelievably, the US delegation appears to be supporting the deal to overturn the ban on whaling, even though President Obama has said he supports the ban.  As a candidate, Obama wrote on a Greenpeace questionnaire;

"As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable." – Barack Obama, March 16, 2008 Greenpeace candidate questionnaire

If President Obama is serious about his commitment to protecting whales, he must make sure his delegation opposes any deal that would legitimize commercial whaling.  Instead, President Obama and the US delegation should support a proposal by Australia, which would end whaling in the Southern Ocean once and for all.

Our team is here in Florida to make sure the delegates at the International Whaling Commission meeting know we will not allow a return to the outdated and unnecessary practice of commercial whaling.  Please join us and send a message to President Obama so he knows that Americans everywhere care about these majestic animals and want to see him honor his commitment to strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling.


Phil Kline

By Phil Kline

Phil is a senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. He is a recognized expert on oceans policy domestically and internationally, and has represented Greenpeace U.S. at International Whaling Commission (IWC) meetings and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meetings around the globe.

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