Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. VI No. 2 April 1997


Australian Task Force Preparing Report on How To Achieve Permanent Ban on Commercial Whaling

by Dr. Robbins Barstow, CSI Director Emeritus


As reported in the January issue of "Whales Alive!" Australia has appointed a distinguished "National Task Force on Whaling" to seek ways to have commercial whale killing permanently banned throughout the world. The Task Force held a public forum at Melbourne University on Saturday, March 15, for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) and others who had made submissions to the Task Force. Among those appearing were representatives from Project Jonah Victoria, the Australian Whale Conservation Society, and Whales Alive Australia, whose spokesperson Mick McIntyre is also CSI's volunteer representative in Australia.

Mick reports, "It felt like an historic day. We spent the day talking about how we were going to achieve a permanent ban on commercial whale killing - not if, or why, but HOW!!"

The Task Force will be presenting their findings to the Minister for the Environment sometime in April, but as noted at the forum, their work does not stop there. The Task Force asked for continued NGO input and said they will continue to meet so the proposed ban can be implemented.

CSI Director Emeritus Dr. Robbins Barstow had already sent to the Task Force an extensive, 15-page submission, on behalf of CSI. The following is the final section of concluding recommendations submitted by Dr. Barstow.

Conclusion of CSI Submission to Australian National Task Force on Whaling
In conclusion, the Cetacean Society International urges the Australian National Task Force on Whaling to advocate the immediate launching of a multi-faceted, long-term, international campaign to pressure and ultimately persuade the International Whaling Commission to establish a permanent, global ban on commercial whaling.

This campaign should include:

(a) World-wide efforts to educate future generations about the economic, scientific, ecological, aesthetic, educational, and ethical values of living whales.

(b) Active efforts to support and promote benign whale watching around the globe as a viable economic alternative to whale killing, including the promulgation of the "General Principles for Whale Watching" adopted by the 1996 Annual Meeting of the IWC, and the continued monitoring by the IWC of sustainable whale watching developments.

(c) The extension and promotion of non-lethal research on whales, insofar as possible in cooperation with the Scientific Committee of the IWC.

(d) The solicitation and publication of legal analyses supporting arguments for an IWC regime of permanent whale protection.

(e) The development of a strategy to gather international support for a permanent ban on commercial whaling, including communicating with like-minded commissioners in advance of the 1997 IWC meeting to seek their commitment to join Australia in publicly affirming on the IWC floor support for the goal of a future management regime of permanent protection.

(f) Publicly challenging pro-whaling statements and actions by whaling interests and governments, particularly those of Japan and Norway.

(g) Working with non-governmental organizations to maintain a positive global initiative on behalf of whales.

(h) Being prepared to invoke economic and/or other sanctions, if necessary, should any whaling nation break away from the IWC and resume commercial whaling on its own.

These measures will take time, money, and energy, as well as long-term commitments. An easy and early victory does not now appear within sight. Ultimately our goal will require acceptance even by presently whaling nations. Till such day, the protectionists must hang tough and persevere, firmly believing that with the requisite effort and persistent patience, the tide of history will in time ensure the achievement of a new era of peaceful coexistence and mutual enrichment for humans and whales on this water planet.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbins Barstow, PhD, on behalf of the Cetacean Society International
Wethersfield, Connecticut, USA
6 February 1997


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