Iceland Helps Block Whale "Safe Area" Proposal - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Helps Block Whale “Safe Area” Proposal

Published July 15, 2011

Iceland, along with Japan and Norway, walked out of an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, effectively killing a proposal that would have established a safe area for whales in the South Atlantic.
Iceland’s IWC representative, Tómas Heiðar, told Vísir that by walking out of the meeting, the IWC officials attending the meeting would not have a quorum – the bare minimum of representatives needed to vote on a measure. In the IWC’s case, that means at least 3/4 of member states must be in attendance for the vote.
With Iceland, Norway and Japan absent, there was no quorum. The proposal for a safe area for whales in the South Atlantic, submitted jointly by Brazil and Argentina with the support of many other nations, was therefore unable to pass.
Tómas says that despite resorting to breaking the quorum, he does not believe the proposal would have passed anyway. So then why go through the trouble of walking out of the meeting if the proposal truly did not have majority support?
Because, Tómas says, while other nations have shown “flexibility” towards Iceland with regards to whale hunting, South America has been adamantly opposed to the practice. He further contends that whaling nations such as Iceland are opposed to creating whale sanctuaries in any part of the world unless it can be proven that they are really needed.

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