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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
4 May 2006
New ‘Save our Whales' wristbands launched today will help raise awareness of whale protection measures within the Australian community, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell said.
The new wristbands will direct people to a new Australian Government website containing information about whales and how Australia is helping to protect them.
Launching the new wristbands in Brisbane, the Minister said he had received thousands of responses from Australians, particularly school children, wanting information about whales.
“Every day I get letters from school children and members of the community about whales - most angry about the whaling activities that are still carried out by countries such as Japan, Norway and Iceland,” Senator Campbell said.
“I hope the wristbands and the new website will help raise awareness of the threats facing whales and inform people of the range of measures we have in place to protect them.
“Between the start of modern whaling in 1904 and 1986 when a moratorium on whaling came into effect, it is estimated that nearly 2 million whales were killed in the southern hemisphere. Due to our efforts, a number of whale populations are now recovering. For instance, humpback whales can now be seen in the thousands migrating through Australian waters during the winter months.
“Whaling is a practice that was widespread around the world decades ago and, as far as I and most Australians are concerned, it should remain in history.”
“For over 25 years the Australian Government has pursued a permanent global ban on commercial whaling and worldwide protection for whales through the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
“Many pro-whaling countries will be pushing for the adoption of proposals to, amongst other things, expedite a return to commercial whaling at the next meeting of the IWC in the Caribbean next month. This poses a real threat to the future protection for whales.
“Australia, together with its pro-conservation allies including New Zealand and the United Kingdom, want to see the ban on commercial whaling continued and an end to whaling under the guise of science. We will continue to work hard to achieve this in the lead up to the IWC meeting.
“This will not be easy but we will continue to fight until we achieve what we've set out to do.
The new Australian Government website, which includes a range of information products about whale protection and also information for kids and teachers can be found at www.saveourwhales.gov.au
Marianne McCabe on 02 6277 7640