The 88 countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) met in Agadir this week. On the agenda was a draft plan allowing Norway, Iceland and Japan to hunt whales legally near Antarctica and elsewhere for 10 years in exchange for a gradual drop in numbers killed, John Vidal reports for The Guardian.
But governments and campaign groups remain divided on the issue. The EU adopted a common negotiating position last weekend ruling against the resumption of commercial whaling. The US and New Zealand, however, have continued to back the package of measures proposed by the chair of the IWC.
Three of the world's largest international NGOs - Greenpeace, WWF and the Pew surprised the meeting saying that they were ready to see commercial whaling resume if six conditions were met. They are:
* an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean
* an end to trade in whale meat and products
* the elimination of unilaterally decided whaling quotas
* an end of hunts of endangered whale species
* putting science at the centre of IWC decisions
* prevention of objections or reservations by IWC members if the moratorium is lifted.
This package was immediately rejected by many other environment groups, including the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, who said they were not willing to accept any return to commercial whaling.
Whaling kills up to 2000 whales annually.
Les Dunes d'Or, Agadir, venue for the meeting