U.S. to oppose Japan on lifting whale-trade bans

Kyodo

The United States will oppose Japan’s call for lifting bans on the international trade of minke and Bryde’s whales at a global wildlife conservation meeting in November in Chile, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The U.S. will support Mexico’s position that the bans should not be lifted before the International Whaling Commission establishes a new system to assess whale stocks, the official said.

The U.S. government is concerned that lifting the bans may allow poachers to sell whale meat on the market, the official said.

The Fisheries Agency announced in June that Japan will call for lifting international bans on commercial trading in minke whales caught in the Northern Hemisphere and Bryde’s whales caught in the North Pacific at the November meeting of the signatory countries to the Washington Treaty.

The agency said it does not consider minke and Bryde’s whales to be endangered species and they therefore should be allowed to be commercially traded under certain conditions.

The Washington Treaty, formally known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, is intended to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.