[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Latin countries ban commercial whaling


Eleven Latin American countries ratify ban on commercial whaling
BUENOS AIRES, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Eleven Latin American countries have ratified an international agreement that calls for a complete ban on commercial whaling to protect the endangered species.

The ratification was done at a meeting here to prepare for the annual International Whaling Commission (IWC) conference in July in Britain.

Representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay, all IWC member states, approved the agreement reached in Chile in 2008 which calls for a complete ban on commercial whaling.

The agreement only allows for strictly controlled hunting for scientific purposes done without killing the mammals and undertaken to promote non-lethal use of whales, a statement from the Argentine Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

"In that sense, the countries reaffirmed their support for regional cooperation in the investigation and the non-lethal use of cetaceans," the statement said.

The countries also committed to respecting the integrity of whale sanctuaries recognized by the IWC, the creation of whale sanctuaries in the South Atlantic and continuing to maintain a "strong opposition to the trade of whale meat."

The 11 countries also agreed to strengthen the IWC and its agenda to protect whales and enable them to play "a functional element" in the world ecosystem.

Copyright 2010 Xinhua News Agency

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