The Twelfth meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is taking place this week in Santiago, Chile.

Once again, Japan and Norway will try to lift the ban on commercial trade in whale products. If they succeed, they will open up a commercial trade in whale products between Norway, Iceland, and Japan.

Other nations will be quick to take advantage of the possibility of whale meat product sales to Japan, and this will motivate even more illegal whaling activities.

Japan will be specifically targeting the Northern Hemisphere Minke whales and the Western Pacific Bryde's whale for exemption from the commercial ban.

Japan and Norway are hoping to bypass the 1986 moratorium imposed by the International Whaling Commission.

Japan is proposing that any Party to CITES, that is also a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's founding treaty, can establish some token national enforcement measures (for which no standards are set) and start setting its own whaling and trade quotas.

If the proposals are adopted, Parties could simply bypass the IWC and manage everything themselves. And they can do it after only three months time - despite the fact that commercial whaling remains banned by the IWC.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be watching the votes at the CITES convention very closely. There is enormous pressure being applied by Japan to undermine the regulations of the IWC through the CITES convention.