Tweet minke whale, photo: Blake Maybank (Flickr CC) It’s been a bad week for whales. First, a proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic was rejected at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference in Panama. Though there were more votes to create a sanctuary than there were against the measure, a three quarters majority is needed for it to pass. Latin American countries are in favor of creating the sanctuary due to the dual benefits of conservation and tourism. Brazil’s commissioner to the IWC, Marcos Pinta Gama, is quoted by the BBC: We believe that the sanctuary is a veryimportant initiative in order to ensure the protection of whales within the whole South Atlantic, to promote the non-lethal use of cetaceans and and benign research that’s important for conserving whales. In many countries including Brazil, those activities are bringing in financial resources to local communities, it’s really expanding, and we think the sanctuary would very much strengthen this kind of activity in the region. In Latin America, it would seem, whale watching is considered a growth industry. South Korea, however, is choosing a different path. The South Korean government has announced that it is considering plans to relax its ban on whaling. Under the new proposal, whaling would be permitted for ‘scientific research’. That’s right, just like Japan. But the main argument for relaxing the ban on whaling presented by South Korea is that minke whales are eating lots of fish, damaging the livelihoods of South Korean fishermen. However, there is no conclusive evidence that this is so as there is insufficient knowledge about the feeding habits of minke whales. Environmental groups like Greenpeace the WWF as well as the governments of New Zealand and Australia voiced their opposition to the proposal to repeal the whaling ban. Read more on that story here. SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox. Given email address is already subscribed, thank you! Please provide a valid email address. Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.