BBC NewsWhaling talks focus on 'too commercial' Arctic claimsBBC NewsThe annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission this time is focusing on hunting by indigenous groups mainly in the Arctic.and more »...
[excerpt] 1 July 2012 Last updated at 21:52 ET
The annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is set to open with the focus on hunting by indigenous groups mainly in the Arctic.
The five-yearly quotas awarded to Inuit and other peoples are due for renewal, with Greenland asking for an increase.
Animal welfare groups charge that much of the meat is sold commercially, and that whales take too long to die.
Governments have reportedly agreed not to repeat last year's walkout, and votes are due on several issues.
These include proposals to declare the South Atlantic a whale sanctuary and to ask the UN to take charge of whale conservation.
But for a number of countries, including the US, renewing quotas for their indigenous peoples under Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW) rules is the top priority.
"We distinguish between commercial whaling, which we oppose, and ASW which we strongly support," said Doug DeMaster, acting US commissioner to the IWC.
"The cultural needs, the recognised tradition - we support the aboriginal use of large whales if they meet a 'needs' criteria that's established by the IWC, and if the removal levels are considered sustainable by the scientific committee of the IWC."