BERLIN - Greenpeace activists stretchered three dead porpoises to the site of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) yesterday, disrupting the meeting to highlight the threats marine mammals face.
The three harbor porpoises had been ensnared and drowned by fishing nets in the Baltic Sea. The activists urged the world whaling organization to tackle the problem of so-called bycatch, which environmentalists say kills 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises a year.
Activists bearing the porpoises, about 1-1/2 meters (3 ft 3 in) long, marched on to the grounds of the hotel where the IWC meeting was taking place.
The demonstration was timed to coincide with a coffee break in the meeting. Some delegates booed when they saw the dead porpoises.
This week's annual meeting has exposed the deep splits in the IWC between pro-whaling nations, led by Japan and Norway, which are keen to allow limited whale catches, and those such as the United States and many European states pushing to give greater protection to the planet's biggest mammals.
Anti-whalers succeeded Monday in backing a measure to set up a conservation committee, a sharp shift for the 57-year-old Commission hailed by environmentalists.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE