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Proposal to create whale sanctuary in S Atlantic defeated

FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil — A proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic has been defeated at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

Opponents of the plan argue the science doesn’t support the case for a sanctuary. And they say it’s not necessary because there isn’t any commercial whaling occurring in the South Atlantic.

Thirty-nine countries backed the measure Tuesday, but 25 opposed. It needed a three-quarters majority to pass.

Supporters say it would have addressed threats to the mammals beyond whaling. They have sought the sanctuary for years.

The deadlock shows a divide in the commission, where some countries think whales can be hunted sustainably and others want more conservation measures. The commission banned commercial whaling in the 1980s, but Japan is proposing to reinstitute it with catch limits.