WASHINGTON, DC -- In advance of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Rome, Italy that will take place March 9-11, 2009, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley issued the following statement today:
“The Obama Administration is committed to continuance of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) as the premiere international forum to resolve current whale conservation issues, coordinate critical research, and develop an international agreement. The United States continues to view the commercial whaling moratorium as a necessary conservation measure and believes that lethal scientific whaling is unnecessary in modern whale conservation management. The United States also continues to have significant concerns over the recent resumption of international trade of whale meat.
“The Administration is fully committed to furthering discussions of critical issues within the IWC, including the future of the organization. While we reserve judgment on various proposals until discussions are completed, it is our view that any package, to be acceptable, must result in a significant improvement in the conservation status of whales.
“We recognize some of these issues facing the IWC may require a longer view toward resolution. However, the failure to resolve these issues is not an acceptable outcome to the United States. We encourage all participants to stay engaged and continue the discussion on the future of the IWC. We look forward to hearing the views of governments and the non-government community at the Rome meeting and in future discussions.”