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MADEIRA, Portugal (Kyodo) The International Whaling Commission ended its annual meeting Thursday after failing to reach consensus on key issues, particularly the proposed whaling in Japan’s coastal waters and a Danish proposal on humpback hunting off Greenland.

During Thursday’s session on the Portuguese island of Madeira, whaling and antiwhaling countries were not able to bridge differences over the Danish proposal to resume hunting humpbacks off Greenland and decided to put off a decision on the matter.

The annual meeting, which began Monday, ended one day earlier than scheduled as member nations were widely apart over the key issues.

Denmark has requested it be allowed to hunt 10 humpbacks a year off Greenland, a semiautonomous Danish territory, under the framework of “aboriginal” subsistence hunting.

The IWC agreement to postpone its decision apparently reflects a sense of crisis among IWC members over further division between whaling and antiwhaling nations.

Bill Hogarth, the IWC commissioner from the United States who chaired the annual meeting, said the Danish proposal is an issue that could leave the IWC divided again.

He proposed the IWC come up with a certain decision on the issue before next year’s hunting season begins. A representative from Denmark said Denmark wants to see the IWC convene a meeting by the end of this year to vote on the matter.

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