A proposal to designate the South Atlantic Ocean a santuary for whales has been spearheaded by Brazil, Argentina and a coalition of 14 pro whale countries (the Buenos Aires Group) within the International Whaling Commission.
The South Atlantic Ocean, spanning a vast area, extends from South America's East Coast to Africa's West Coast joining two sanctuaries already approved by the International Whaling Commission (the Indian Ocean Sanctuary and the Southern Whale Sanctuary).
It is the sovereign right of the people to protect their heritage, the great whales, for generations to come, yet this sanctuary proposal has been a longstanding project. Time and time again, it has fallen just short of the necessary three-quarter majority vote in the yearly IWC meetings. Most recently at the 2011 IWC in Jersey UK, the undemocratic actions of whaling nations shocked the world as they actually walked out the meeting, in order to block the Sanctuary proposal. The decision has been shelved (yet again) until the 2012 IWC meeting in Panama.
The proposed Sanctuary is home to 54 species of marine mammals, including known breeding grounds for all large whale species plus feeding areas for at least two species (Bryde’s and sperm whales). It also includes the yet undetailed migratory paths that baleen and toothed whales use on their way to and from the feeding grounds. Whale species from the Southern Atlantic oceanic basin were amongst the ones that suffered the most from twentieth century whaling activities which decimated their populations.
A sanctuary is critical to their population recovery and in the process will also create economic opportunity for the nations within its boundaries, many of which have already taken the initiative and support thriving whale watching industries.
In order to support the Buenos Aires Group, we are asking the global community to join the HandSTAND for the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary, first with the online petition and then by creating a banner of handprints. Both will be presented to the International Whaling Commission at their next meeting in Panama City (June 2012), as a symbol of solidarity with the Buenos Aires Group, and whale nation. Until all our oceans are declared a santuary for whales please unite for this positive step forward in conservation.
We, the undersigned, unanimously support the proposed creation of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic Ocean, extending from South America's West Coast to Africa's East Coast. Joining the Indian Ocean Sanctuary and the Southern Whale Sanctuary this would create thebiggest whale sanctuary the world has ever seen, ensuring that entire populations of great whales are protected in co-operative research on a large international scale and protecting them from commercial whaling in the entire southern hemisphere.
It is the sovereign right of the people to protect their heritage, the great whales, for generations to come, yet this sanctuary proposal has been a longstanding project. Time and time again, it has fallen just short of the necessary three-quarter majority vote in the yearly IWC meetings.
We unite with the Buenos Aires Group in the hope that this sanctuary is finally granted and the International Whaling Commission take one more step toward the protection and conservation of whales, intergral to the great chain of our oceanic ecosystems. Until all the oceans are a sanctuary for cetaceans and the whales are recognised as nation of sentient beings deserving of their own rights, please hear the voice of the people, lending our voice to our sacred, oceanic kin.
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