Florianópolis, Brazil, 13th September 2018. The member states of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) have just adopted the so-called “Florianópolis Declaration” by a simple majority and have thus committed themselves to a historical reorientation of the 72-year-old convention.

“Instead of the archaic and completely unnecessary hunting of whales, the protection and peaceful and purely non-lethal usage of whales, which includes whale watching, should now be the focus of our efforts,” explains Nicolas Entrup of the marine conservation organisation OceanCare. “We hope that also those states, which did not agree with Resolution today, will recognise the economic advantage of respectful whale watching tourism in the coming years and will follow this paradigm change”, stresses the expert.

The explicit aim of the declaration is the comprehensive protection of the world’s whale populations, so that they can recover to their pre-hunting status. The Resolution sees the economic use of whale stocks exclusively in non-lethal use, including whale watching. For whale conservationists, the proposal is seen as an antithesis to the Japanese “A way forward” proposal, which envisages the reintroduction of commercial industrial whaling and is still up for voting today.

“The decision is a manifesto for peaceful co-existence between whales and humans. It is also an attempt to make the IWC, which was founded shortly after the Second World War before the heyday of intensive whaling, fit for the 21st century,” says Entrup, “Now the purpose of the meeting is to avert Japan’s attack on the whaling ban in order to actually give the whales a chance”.