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

15 November 2006

Japan's whalers head south for 'scientific' hunt

Japan’s whaling fleet is heading for the Southern Ocean to hunt endangered whale species in the name of science.  The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, is once again urging Japan to abandon its ‘scientific’ whaling programme, known as JARPA II.

“Last year Japan ramped up their ‘scientific’ whaling under the JARPA II programme to take 856 minke whales, (almost 60 per cent of which were pregnant females) and 10 fin whales. These numbers were nearly double the annual take of previous years,” Senator Campbell said.

“During the next hunt in 2007 and 2008 Japan plans to take 935 minke whales, 50 endangered fin whales and, for the first time, 50 humpback whales, which are also listed on the World Conservation Union's List of Threatened Species.

“This is not science — these are commercial quantities of whales.

“Despite the slaughter of hundreds of whales by Japan we have yet to see any viable scientific results.  Australia has already proven that whales don’t need to be killed to provide us with valuable information about the species.

“Iceland came clean on its ‘scientific’ whaling programme in October this year, abandoning the pretence of scientific whaling to resume full-on commercial whaling,” Senator Campbell said.

“The Australian Government will continue to explore all options to prevent Japan from whaling in these waters.

“The International Whaling Commission (IWC) does not support the Japanese Southern Ocean scientific whaling programme,” Senator Campbell said. 

“At the IWC two years ago member countries, led by Australia, adopted a resolution calling for Japan to withdraw its JARPA II proposal. However this resolution is non-binding and as such Japan is not obligated to comply.”

Scientist from more than half of the members of the IWC Scientific Committee have consistently said that JARPA II is not needed for science.

Further information about how the Australian Government is protecting whales can be found at

Media contact:
Rob Broadfield on 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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