World Body Postpones Decision on Whale Hunts

Fractious conference delays decision on moratorium by a year
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2008 8:25 PM CDT
Japan and Norway are among the few countries that hunt whales; Norway has ignored a world moratorium on commercial hunting, and Japan could well follow suit soon.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A moratorium on commercial whaling looks set to continue for another year after an international body put off a decision yesterday, the Economist notes, but its fate beyond that appears tenuous. The 81-nation International Whaling Commission, often paralyzed by conflicting views, also decided to revamp its decision-making process by forming a core panel of 20 nations to hash out resolutions.

Japan, where whale meat is a delicacy, is the biggest proponent of hunting but has been unable—despite financial incentives to "countries with little interest in whaling (and sometimes with no coastline, such as Mongolia and Laos)"—to accrue the 75% of votes needed to overturn the moratorium. The country might simply decide to ignore the ban, as Norway currently does.