Doors were opened and discussions resumed Wednesday in Agadir, Morocco at the 62nd annual International Whaling Commission, and the news is big; the proposed deal to legalize commercial whaling is presumably off the table, for now.
The compromise deal has been negotiated in secret for the past several years; representatives of the United States and other key governments colluded to dismantle the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
Despite the temporary reprieve for some species, there's no respite for gray whales with a five year quota of 150 whales a year approved.
"This is an outrageous decision and it was based on the recommendations of the US National Marine & Fisheries Service whose appalling science is driving these whales to extinction. The only solution is a moratorium and we must keep up the battle to save these magnificent whales" says California Gray Whale Coalition's Sue Arnold.
The efficacy of the IWC is being criticized as negotiations this week in Agadir, Morocco failed to reach a diplomatic solution to the pressure to resume legalized commercial whaling. Japan was pursuing an International Whaling Commission compromise package that would have awarded a commercial quota in the Antarctic that was about half its current 935 minke whale scientific quota.
Meanwhile, Japan is set to resume killing whales under the guise of scientific research this fall.
While hunting and killing of whales is illegal in Hawaiian waters, they face a number of threats to survival including entanglement, ship/boat strikes, pollution, ingestion of plastics and other marine debris, starvation, and disease. The United States is considered a whaling nation due to the allowance Indigenous people to take a specified number of whales, such as bowhead and gray, under the terms of the IWC.