The Southern Ocean Sanctuary adopted at the I.W.C’s 46th meeting reinforces the global moratorium on commercial whaling and completes the Indian Ocean Sanctuary.
It is time now to create a sanctuary for whales in the northern hemisphere.
Creation of a circumpolar Arctic Ocean Sanctuary would insure protection for northern whale populations under the responsibility of the I.W.C.
The creation of a northern sanctuary should not represent any problem as none of the northern I.W.C. member states opposed adoption of the southern sanctuary, (i.e : Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russian Federation, Sweden and United States).
Without harming ethnic minorities living inside the arctic circle who would continue to have aboriginal quotas consistent with their subsistence needs, the objective of the Northern Ocean Sanctuary would be to prevent commercial whaling. Northern whale populations deserve as much protection as the southern stocks, and arguably even more since they are more heavily threatened by pollutants and disturbances caused by maritime and industrial activities.
The French environmental organisation Robin des Bois expresses its enthusiasm and commitment to work with interested commissioners and NGOs in order to develop and submit a proposal on the Arctic Ocean Sanctuary at the next meetings of the I.W.C. in Ireland in 1995 for adoption in Monaco in 1996.