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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

11 September 2003

Australia Joins Twenty-One Other Countries in Calling on Iceland to Recall its Whaling Fleet


In Reykjavik overnight Australia joined 21 other countries in making a demarche to Iceland, opposing its scientific whaling program.

Australia's Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said that the joint diplomatic response indicated the strength of international opposition to Iceland's decision last month to resume whaling.

"The demarche sends a strong signal to the Government of Iceland that its so-called ‘scientific' whaling program does not have the support of the international community," said Dr Kemp.

"Australia has made it clear that Iceland's decision to join Japan in conducting lethal research on whales was both technically deficient and scientifically unwarranted.

"Australian Government non-lethal DNA research using whale faeces also has demonstrated that there is no need to kill whales in order to study their diet.

"The demarche shows that a significant number of our fellow members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) agree that scientific whaling is unjustified and unnecessary."

The text delivered overnight to the Government of Iceland says, in part:

...delegates of a majority of countries represented at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee expressed their objection to Iceland's proposal submitted earlier this year. They also made it clear that the plan would not meet the scientific standards normally required for endorsement of research by any major international research agency.

...Iceland's action does not comply with Resolution 2003-2 adopted at IWC 55, which states that current and proposed Special Permit whaling operations represent an act contrary to the spirit of the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling and to the will of the Commission.

...We therefore call on the Government of Iceland to reconsider its decision to recommence scientific whaling.

"Today, our Governments have reaffirmed our strong commitment to the moratorium on commercial whaling and to the conservation of whales," said Dr Kemp.

Twenty-two countries including Australia are calling on Iceland to comply with an International Whaling Commission resolution which urges Iceland to end its lethal whaling research program.

The countries which joined Australia in voicing opposition to Iceland's scientific whaling program were: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Peru, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Commonwealth of Australia