§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in view of concern about the conservation of whales, he will make a statement on the results of the recent annual conference of the International Whaling Commission.
§ Mr. Prior
Yes. This year's meeting of the IWC has fulfilled several of the commissions long-standing objectives. The moratorium which has covered all endangered species—blue, humpback, bowhead, gray and right wales—since 1966 has now been extended indefinitely. All other commercially hunted species are now protected by catch quotas set at levels which should ensure that depleted stocks recover and that healthy stocks do not decline below their optimum numbers For the first time all species of whales being fished will be allocated individual quotas. Final arrangements were made at the meeting for foreign observers to be present at all whaling operations to confirm that the commission's regulations are being carried out.
These measures have been widely welcomed by the international conservation bodies represented at the meeting, although they fall short of the 10-year moratorium on all commercial whaling which they wish to see. This proposal which the United Kingdom delegation supported was rejected by a majority.