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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

14 February 2005

Czech Republic new ally in Australia's campaign for whales

Australia has gained another ally in its international campaign to protect whales, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

"I am delighted that the Czech Republic has announced that it will become a party to the International Whaling Convention with a vote at the International Whaling Commission (IWC)," Senator Campbell said.

"The Czech Republic shares our concern over the conservation status of great whales, and the possible resumption of commercial whaling.

"Its decision comes at a critical time, as the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling is under threat.

"There are now 59 members in the IWC with many new members over recent years. The balance between conservation-minded countries such as Australia and those others who would agree to commercial whaling is very tight.

"The Government looks forward to working with the Czech Republic in ensuring that the world's whale populations are protected.

"I will be writing to my opposite number in the Czech Republic explaining Australia's strong position against commercial whaling and seeking support for our position in the IWC.

"I will also be approaching other non-member countries to suggest that they consider joining the IWC if they wish to see a permanent ban on commercial whaling."

At the next meeting of the IWC in Ulsan, South Korea in June, the Australian Government will maintain its strong position of seeking a permanent global ban on commercial whaling and an end to so-called scientific whaling.

Media contact:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos on 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia