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Washington, U.S.A. — With President Barack Obama declaring June “National Oceans Month,” the sanctity of the marine ecosystem resonates around the globe. Reaffirming their commitment to the oceans and those that inhabit them, Representatives Bill Keating and Howard Berman have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives about the importance of U.S. leadership in whale conservation in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and in other international fora.
“The magnificent whales of the ocean swim through a sea of troubles,” said Jeff Flocken, DC Office Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “It is not enough to simply be a member of IWC and oppose whaling. Countries need to turn up to meetings, raise their hands and speak up for whales. We applaud Representatives Keating and Berman for taking a strong stance and calling on the U.S. to do just that.”
As the IWC prepares to meet in Panama City, Panama, during the first week of July, every controversial issue concerning whales is potentially on the table. At a time when whales face more threats than ever before, conservation-minded countries like the U.S. need to reassert historic leadership for whale conservation, something the American people across the political spectrum support.
A recent survey conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group found bipartisan support for whale conservation. Among those surveyed, 77 percent of Americans agree that Congress and the Administration should adopt a broad whale conservation program, and 89 percent believe that the U.S. should help enforce the global ban on commercial whaling. Additionally, 78 percent support having high-level U.S. government officials speak out publicly against commercial whaling by Japan, Norway andIceland.
“While Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to ignore the thirty year moratorium on commercial whaling, the U.S. government has been a beacon of hope, leading efforts to protect the species,” added Patrick Ramage, Global Whale Program Director, IFAW. “U.S. leadership was critical in establishing the ban that was first proposed by President Reagan, and in the successful designation of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica that was championed by the U.S. in the early 1990s. Once again, U.S. leadership is needed to ensure a safer future for the world’s whales.”
In order to better inform the U.S. government about how to protect whales from commercial whaling, as well as threats including entanglement and entrapment, ship strikes and shipping noise, navy sonar, oil, gas and industrial development, and pollution, IFAW developed the Blueprint for U.S. Whale Conservation.The comprehensive action plan highlights current solutions and recommends simple, effective next steps the U.S. government should take to secure a better future for whales in waters around the world