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International Whaling Commission kicks off in Chile


Source: | 06-24-2008 08:33

The International Whaling Commission's annual conference has been kicked off in Chile. The organization remains deeply divided on the issue of commercial whaling.

People forming the shape of a whale and the word "Sanctuary" in Santiago on June 22. The International Whaling Commission, a treaty organization grouping 80 countries, is to meet in Chile to debate a possible resumption of commercial whale-hunting.(AFP/Whaleman Foundation/File/Jeff Pankunthoff) 
People forming the shape of a whale and the word "Sanctuary" 
in Santiago on June 22. The International Whaling Commission, 
a treaty organization grouping 80 countries, is to meet in 
Chile to debate a possible resumption of commercial 
whale-hunting.(AFP/Whaleman Foundation/File/Jeff Pankunthoff)

The week-long meeting brings together some 500 delegates from 78 nations.

Chile opened the meeting by declaring a permanent ban on whaling its waters.

Ana Lya Uriarte, Chilean Secretary of Environment, said, "We want to symbolize some commitments, precisely today, 61 years after the supreme decree I just talked about it, with the signing by our president of a law project we will then present to the national congress, and that declares Chilean territory free of the capture and hunting of whales."

The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but it is now bitterly divided.