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Japan blocks proposed Atlantic whale sanctuary

A proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the southern Atlantic lacked "scientific backing", Japan said on Tuesday after leading the charge to scupper the plan at an international meeting.
Credit:   Freshwater and Marine Image Bank
Japan and its allies shot down a Latin American-led proposal to create a sanctuary for whales in the southern Atlantic Ocean
 |     |   07-03-2012
An idea raised by several South American countries to create a haven for whales in the South Atlantic was shot down Monday at the International Whaling Commission.
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You can't really believe that Nauru or Tuvalu has an interest or has studied the sanctuary. They are voting because Japan tells them to.

—Jose Truda Palazzo

rgentina, Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay put forward a proposal to declare the southern Atlantic a no-kill zone for whales, a largely symbolic measure as whaling ended there long ago.

Thirty-eight countries voted in favor of the measure and 21 voted against, with two abstentions. Under commission rules, proposals need to enjoy a "consensus" of 75 percent support for approval.

Jose Truda Palazzo, who spearheaded the proposal for the Atlantic sanctuary when he was Brazil's representative to the International Whaling Commission, blamed nations that receive Japanese aid for scuttling the proposal.

But the Japanese government had no regrets. "Japan carries out whaling on scientific grounds," said Shigehito Numata of the Japanese Fisheries Agency's whaling section. "The proposal lacked scientific backing."

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