The Swiss government has decided to back a controversial proposal to allow the resumption of whaling in certain coastal areas. The decision comes ahead of next month's meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Adelaide.
The compromise proposal, which would permit a limited amount of whale-hunting within strict boundaries, was proposed by Ireland. While backing the proposal, Switzerland will call for a permanent ban on ocean whaling. There is currently a global moratorium in force.
The cabinet said it would only support the resumption of commercial whaling if strict quotas were adhered to and if it were scientifically proven that there would be no harm to the ecosystem or endangered species.
Switzerland would only approve the Irish compromise if applications were made on scientific grounds and were supported by the governments concerned.
Switzerland will be represented at July's meeting by delegates from the federal veterinary office and the foreign office. Representatives of the 41 member countries will also discuss whale populations, whaling by indigenous tribes and methods of hunting.
Switzerland and Austria are the only two landlocked countries on the Commission, and have in the past been able to use this status to mediate in whaling conflicts.
swissinfo with agencies