Okay, scratch the premature anti-whaling triumphalism. Turns out Japan, having lost several four separate votes on related matters, got a majority on the International Whaling Commission to oppose the 1986 ban on commercial whaling. "[I]t's a very sad day for whales," notes a conservationist. On the upside, a 75 percent majority is needed to overturn the moratorium, and this vote was a squeaker (33-32).
Over at the Greenpeace blog, the organization's guy on the scene puts the latest vote in perspective:
But wait a minute, what does it actually mean, what will it actually deliver for the whalers? [N]othing in real time in the real world. They already lost the first four votes, ones that actually would have changed things now, they wanted to end any IWC work on dolphins and porpoises, they wanted secret ballots, they wanted an exemption from the commercial whaling ban to kill minke Whales and Brydes whales inside their territorial waters, not for science but for sale, and they wanted the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary harpooned: these were real things that would have made a real difference.
For more on whaling and other oceans-related news, see here.