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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

20 November 2000


The Federal Government has renewed Australia's condemnation of Japan's scientific whaling program with more killings scheduled to start in the Southern Ocean.

Japan plans to kill up to 440 minke whales in Antarctic Areas in the waters south of Australia and New Zealand.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has again called for the Japanese Government to refrain from issuing permits for scientific whaling.

"The Australian Government remains totally opposed to lethal scientific whaling and we will continue to promote increased protection for whales," Senator Hill said.

"The scale and nature of the scientific whaling program carried out under special permits issued by the Government of Japan undermines the intent of the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling as well as the claim that they are being killed in the name of science.

"Japanese vessels are now sailing to the Southern Ocean to commence another whale kill, despite strong international support for the protection of whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

"When the International Whaling Commission met in Adelaide in July 2000, Australia was among a group of nations proposing a resolution urging Japan to refrain from issuing special permits for scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. The resolution was carried by a large majority."

Senator Hill said that this year the International Whaling Commission expressed concerns over the status of Antarctic minke whale populations that may be much smaller than previously thought.

"The International Whaling Commission is now undertaking a review of the Antarctic minke whale populations specifically to examine the impacts of scientific whaling," Senator Hill said.

"Australia has made strong diplomatic representations to Japan urging them to abandon the practice of killing whales."

Media Contacts: David Kay (Environment Australia): 02 6274 1223
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office): (08) 8237 7920 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia