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

17 January 2001

AUSTRALIA CRITICISES NORWEGIAN TRADE IN WHALE PRODUCTS


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has criticised a decision by the Norwegian Fisheries Ministry to conditionally allow the export of minke whale products.

"I was disappointed to hear of yesterday's announcement by Norway," Senator Hill said.

"This action is contrary to the spirit of recent decisions in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) that minke whales remain listed on Appendix I so that no international trade in whale products should be permitted.

"It also runs counter to the wishes of the majority of the International Whaling Commission members and serves to undermine the credibility of the IWC and the moratorium on commercial whaling."

The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 because of the decimation of most great whales in the world due to over-harvesting, but Norway has continued to hunt minke whales in its own waters for domestic consumption.

However, the Norwegian preference for whale meat rather than whale blubber has led to a large stockpile of blubber, which is keenly sought in Japan.

The announcement comes at a time when the Japanese fleet is again in the Southern Ocean conducting its so-called 'scientific whaling' program, whereby up to 440 minke whales are hunted and the meat and blubber are sold in Japanese shops and restaurants.

January 17 2001

Media enquiries:
Belinda Huppatz, Senator Hill's Office: 0419 258 364 or 02 6277 7640

Commonwealth of Australia