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In a rare moment Wednesday, the International Whaling Commission voted overwhelmingly to back whale hunting, but strictly for small subsistence hunts undertaken by some communities, mostly in the Arctic.
The vote confirmed a longstanding commitment to so-called aboriginal subsistence hunting (ASW), for nutritional and cultural reasons, which continues to be an exception to the decades-old ban on commercial whaling.
Agreement - Communities - Flexibility - Conditions - Year
"This important agreement gives our native communities the much-needed flexibility to operate more safely in dangerous environmental conditions that vary from one year to the next," said Ryan Wulff, US Commissioner to the IWC.
The issue is highly sensitive because Japan, with the backing of Iceland, Norway and some other nations, is using many of the same cultural arguments to call for a return to commercial whaling at the IWC's 67th meeting in Brazil.
IWC - Catch - Quota - Hundreds - Minke
The IWC voted by 68 to 7 to set a catch quota of hundreds of minke, fin, humpback and bowhead whales for the next six years for communities in Alaska, Russia, Greenland and Bequia in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Anti-whaling states had raised objections to an original plan for automatic renewal of the quotas after six years,...
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