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Senator John Kerry Introduces Legislation To Protect Whales; 'We Should Be Leading The Effort To Protect Them'

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Further demonstrating his commitment towards environmental conservation, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) today introduced legislation aimed at protecting whales. The International Whale Conservation and Protection Act of 2010 addresses major threats to whales including commercial whaling, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, ocean noise, and climate change and reasserts the U.S. as a leader in whale conservation.

"Whales are in a sea of trouble, and we must do all we can to mitigate threats to the species and its habitat," said Jeff Flocken, IFAW DC Office Director. "We applaud Senator Kerry's leadership in championing this legislation and hope his colleagues follow suit."

Elements of the legislation include:

  • Promoting international efforts to conserve and protect the world's whales throughout their range.
  • Strengthening the whale conservation and protection efforts of relevant international organizations including the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the International Maritime Organization.
  • Ensuring that the IWC commercial whaling ban is neither lifted nor weakened and that the related illegal and lethal scientific whaling is ended.
  • Reducing and, where possible, eliminating sources of human-caused death, injury, harassment and disturbance of the world's whales.
  • Initiating and expanding research to improve our understanding of the world's whales including health and reproduction, whale habitats and the impacts of human activities and other threats to whales.

"Thousands of whales die each year from commercial whaling, ship strikes, and habitat disruption," said Senator Kerry. "We should be leading the effort to protect them."

Today, whales and their habitats face more threats than ever before, largely from commercial whaling. A draft plan unveiled last month by the Chairman of the IWC proposes to legalize commercial whaling for the first time since a 1986 moratorium made it illegal to hunt whales for commercial purposes.

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