A proposal to create a South Atlantic whale sanctuary was voted down at the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Panama this week.
The South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary would have covered most of the Atlantic Ocean south of the equator, from the coast of South America to the coast of Africa. It would have joined with the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The governments of Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and Uruguay wanted the whale sanctuary because whale-watching and eco-tourism are becoming increasingly important economic activities for their coastal communities.
Japan and its allies voted against the measure, preventing it from getting the three-fourths majority necessary to pass.
Humpback whale photo via Shutterstock.