Estonia urged to weigh in on whaling

  • 2007-03-21
  • By Joel Alas
TALLINN - Although whales are a rarity in the Baltic Sea, Baltic nations are being encouraged to sign up to the International Whaling Commission in an effort to prevent whale hunting nations from resuming their trade. The British Ambassador to Estonia, Nigel Haywood, has issued a plea to Estonia to join the whale protection organization, which is at risk of being dominated by pro-whaling nations such as Japan, Norway and Iceland.

Haywood said it was vital that even nations without ocean borders take an interest in the welfare of the endangered giants.
"Whales are magnificent animals whose existence is at clear risk unless we all take action," Haywood said.
"Estonia does not have whales and does not hunt whales, so why should you care?  Because you love the environment, you take care of your country and because if you don't - whales will die."
In recent years, Japan has been accused of stacking the IWC with small African and Caribbean nations by providing aid in exchange for votes.

While the Japanese have denied buying votes from poor nations, a great number of pro-whaling nations have now joined the IWC and are likely to dominate its forthcoming conference in May.
Haywood said Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania could help restore the balance.
"Control of the IWC is changing from anti-whaling countries to pro-whaling countries and commercial whaling may resume. This is not romantic whaling as written in the famous novel Moby Dick. This is efficient, processed slaughter. Do we want to be known as the generation who allowed the largest animals in the world to go extinct?" Haywood said.
Ministry of Environment under-secretary Allan Gromov said that Estonia agreed with the European Union's anti-whaling stance.
"Up until now we have been involved in our own internal business, but now we feel it is time to enter into this field," Gromov said.
"We have been asked many times to join, but it hasn't been our highest priority. We now feel developed enough to participate."
However Estonia was unlikely to join before the May conference, Gromov said.

"I think we will be ready at the end of the year. The procedures are quite heavy. Now people are working on translating all the documents. Then we must present it to the minister for the environment, to the government and to parliament. It takes time."