International Whaling Commission (Panama, July 2 to 6, 2012)
The International Whaling Commission was established by the Washington Convention in 1946. It regulates whaling and promotes and coordinates whale research. It meets every year in one of the States Parties. France has been a member of this Commission from the outset.
While this Commission has just met in Panama, France expresses its deep concern at South Korea’s plans to launch a scientific whaling campaign. This controversial practice, which derives from an old provision of the whaling convention and is sometimes implemented on a large scale, is now outdated. France reaffirms that the killing of whales under the pretext of scientific research can no longer be justified, while the status of whale stocks remains uncertain.
We regret this decision and urge South Korea to reconsider its choice.
France only recognizes the right to engage in traditional subsistence hunting, notably in Greenland, provided that it complies with the criteria defined by the International Whaling Commission (satisfaction of the nutritional and cultural needs of the community). We don’t believe that Denmark’s demands for an increased quota meet these criteria. We were therefore unable to support the demand for an increased quota within the context of an expansion of the commercial nature of whaling in Greenland.
Lastly, I would like to reaffirm the EU’s position on this issue which constitutes a strong political signal on the part of the Member States aimed at ensuring the optimal protection of whales.