Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP

Attorney-General
Minister for Emergency Management

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Australian Government welcomes South Korea whaling announcement

Media release
9 January 2013

The Gillard Government welcomes the official confirmation by the Republic of Korea that it will not go ahead with a lethal so called “scientific” whaling program.

The decision was announced in a circular released by the International Whaling Commission.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said he was pleased Korea had carefully considered its approach to so called ‘scientific’ whaling.

“The oceans can only be properly cared for if every nation plays its part,’’ Mr Burke said.

“This decision shows that Korea is willing to be a responsible custodian of the oceans and is willing to respect the moratorium on commercial whaling.

“It contains some very strong lessons and messages for Japan.”

The Government has been advised that Korea has reviewed the strong evidence that all information required for whale conservation and management can be obtained by modern, non-lethal research methods and concluded there is no need to proceed with a “scientific” whaling program.

“Australia is more than happy to share our techniques and approaches to non-lethal cetacean research to help Korea answer their key management and conservation priorities,” Mr Burke said.

Attorney General Nicola Roxon said Australia is known for its firm position on whaling

“We condemn all forms of commercial whaling, including so-called ‘scientific’ whaling. There is no reason to kill whales in the name of science,’’ she said.

“That’s why we are taking action in the International Court of Justice to stop so called ‘scientific’ whaling once and for all.” 

The International Court of Justice will now set the case down for oral hearing in The Hague.  The Government anticipates that the case is likely to be listed for hearing in the latter half of 2013.