It’s lunchtime here in Panama City, on day one of the International Whaling Commission meeting. Already tears have been shed from outside the El Panama hotel, as the first outcome from the meeting is that the South Atlantic Sanctuary has not been granted.
As we were holding a scared circle surrounded by banners, filled with handprints of support from all over the world, the news came through that the results for the sanctuary were 38 votes Yes, 2 abstains and 21 voting against.
Without a 3 quarter majority the sanctuary, and all the hard work and combined efforts of The Buenos Aires Group and global NGOs, is once again blocked by nations insisting on exploiting our oceans and whales.
However, we CAN shift the focus to the positive, and look at the fact that only one country is needed to side with the Sanctuary next year for it to be granted. Antigua & Barbuda, Benin, Cambodia, China, Republic of Ghana, Grenada, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Nauru, Norway, Palau, Russian Federation, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Tanzania, Togo, Tuvalu. Any single country from this list has the power to tip the vote in favour of the whales and the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, who will it be?
We stand alone in a special designated area for activists – Howie, Chris, Chadd, Rae, Nori, Christina and myself (Natalie) – representing Women for Whales, Surfers for Cetaceans, Be As One Foundation and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. We are calling on all local activists, students, animal rights groups, surfers, sailors, divers and ocean lovers to join us midday on Wednesday for a day of NOISE in honour of whale freedom! Bring your boards, banners, instruments and prepare to sing, shout and dance, to be a collective voice our friends in the sea.
We await more news concerning the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling quotas from this afternoon’s meeting, and will be sharing info of the “bundle”, a complicated system that is allowing agendas of commercial whaling to filter in under the guise of indigenous hunting.
More Women for Whales and International Whale Celebration updates on www.facebook.com/celebratewhales