During a meeting, called by the Environmental Commission of the Chilean Senate, the legislators supported the permanent ban to all extractive activities of cetacean species in the country and the Minister of Environment affirmed that nobody in Chile opposes the whale protection cause.
Santiago de Chile, November 09, 2008 (CCC News) – Different governmental and civil society sectors gathered yesterday in the Chilean Congress by invitation of the Environmental Commission of the Senate. The meeting was held to discuss whale conservation policies in the country related to two projects of law presented recently for analysis by Senator Antonio Horvath (Renovacion Nacional) and Alejandro Navarro (Partido Socialista).
Governmental authorities present at the meeting, such as the Minister of the Environment, Ana Lya Uriarte, expressed their “contentment with the legislative initiatives presented by the senators”. The assistant director of the environmental department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fernando Danus, affirmed that “chancellery welcomes any legal initiative oriented to apply the obligations Chile has at an international level.”
In relation to the projects of law, Minister Uriarte and representatives of Centro de Conservacion Cetacea and Centro Ecoceanos proposed to fuse both initiatives into one simplified text oriented to permanently ban the capture of all cetacean species in Chilean jurisdictional waters (including live specimens for captivity purposes) and specify significant sanctions for any violation of the law, as a first step to develop a national policy on conservation and non lethal use of cetaceans. The purpose of this proposal is to avoid any rejection or delay in the adoption of the law by the congress, since both projects included extraterritoriality aspects that “will generate difficulties” as Danus and the Under Secretariat of Fisheries explained.
Long Term Measures and Permanent Protection
Centro de Conservacion Cetacea, the organization that actively works IWC issues since 2001 in Chile, received with joy the fact that all the organizations present in the meeting expressed their complete support and determination to expeditiously work in a legislation to protect all cetacean species that navigate Chilean jurisdictional waters, as a first step to develop a national policy of conservation and non lethal use of cetaceans.
Nobody Opposes Whale Cause in Chile
Juan Carlos Cardenas, director of Centro Ecoceanos, affirmed that “the projects of law presented by the congressmen for review are highly political since they are related to the sovereign right of Chile to use cetaceans by non lethal means and it is also a transversal issue since it has the support of all sectors of the society.” This concept was reaffirmed by Ministry Uriarte, who declared that “in Chile there are two positions related to the conservation of whales: support it or be indifferent, but nobody rejects it”.
The protection of cetaceans is an issue that has a wide consensus. This support has been explicitly manifested since 2007 when coastal communities and artisal fishers requested President Bachelet to establish a National Whale Sanctuary, an initiative that has been promoted by Centro de Conservacion Cetacea, Centro Ecoceanos and the National Confederation of Artisal Fishers (CONAPACH) and that has the support of more than 100 national and international organizations, as well as the Deputy Chamber and Environmental Commission of the Chilean congress.
Chile 2008, a Whale Sanctuary
After the meeting, CCC and Ecoceanos held a press conference in front of the Chilean congress, where a group of enthusiastic volunteers received the authorities with “Santu” a life size replica of a minke whale that is the symbol of the campaign “Chile 2008, A Whale Sanctuary”.
During the conference, the executive director of CCC, Elsa Cabrera, stated that “we are very happy and optimistic about the work that the congress is conducting in favor of the conservation of whale populations and our sovereign right to use cetacean’s populations by non lethal means. A live whale means great opportunities of work through the development of tourist, educational or recreative activities.”
Senator Alejandro Navarro stated that “we are working so that Chile becomes a leader in cetacean conservation issues and not only to oppose whaling activities, and we look forward to the establishment of a whale sanctuary in Chile”.
Senator Horvath affirmed that “Due to the long history our country has with whales and our large coastal area, Chile needs to become a pioneering country and of course this protection establishes a complete whale sanctuary in the country. We have to take more significant steps to be an example at an international level.”
Source: Centro de Conservacion Cetacea