THE International Whaling Commission is unlikely to reach a consensus on a proposal that would effectively allow commercial whaling, according to sources.
Agreement on the proposal may be postponed at least a year until the next general meeting, the sources said.
The IWC opened its annual general meeting Monday in the Atlantic resort town of Agadir, with the focus of the meeting being whether Japan will effectively be allowed to resume commercial whaling.
Pro-whaling and antiwhaling nations raised objections to the proposal made by chairman Cristian Maquieira and vice chairman Anthony Liverpool. Within minutes of the conference opening, the plenary session took a recess through Wednesday morning for closed informal discussions on the proposal.
The proposal allows Japan to hunt whales in Japanese coastal waters in exchange for a reduction in its annual catch of minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean. However, pro- and antiwhaling groups have not been able to reach a compromise, the sources said.
Six groups of the antiwhaling camp, such as the European Union and Latin American nations, held a series of separate negotiations Monday and Tuesday with the four pro-whaling nations--Japan, Iceland, Norway and South Korea.
However, the dominant opinion in the meetings was that agreement on the proposal should be postponed, a European country's representative said.
The conference resumed Wednesday morning. Acting Chairman Liverpool told an open meeting Wednesday that "fundamental positions remained very much apart".
"Japan will continue its efforts to reach an agreement on the proposal," Yasue Funayama, parliamentary secretary for agriculture forestry and fisheries, said.
However, it likely will be difficult for IWC members to reach an agreement on the proposal before the five-day meeting ends Friday, the sources added.
-The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network