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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
18 December 2006
Australia has joined anti-whaling allies to protest against Japan’s scientific whaling programme, known as JARPA II.
The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today that in a joint diplomatic representation the governments of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States have united to express serious concerns about the departure of Japan’s whaling fleet on 15 November to Antarctic waters to kill whales in the name of science, and called upon Japan to halt its so-called scientific whaling operations.
“This is the largest number of governments in recent times to express jointly their deep concern that the Government of Japan will continue its controversial so-called scientific whaling programme (JARPA II). This year Japan plans to kill up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales,” Senator Campbell said.
“Next year, Japan will start to hunt humpback whales under this JARPA II programme. A number of the humpback whales that will be killed by JARPA II are likely to be known to researchers on the east and west coasts of Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Tonga and may have been catalogued in photographs as part of existing non-lethal scientific research programmes.
“Pro-conservation nations have expressed serious concern that these non-lethal scientific research programmes will be undermined by JARPA II. Some of the humpbacks which will be targeted on their summer feeding grounds are likely to belong to small, vulnerable populations that winter in the South Pacific, including some that remain critically endangered.
“Far from benefiting the scientific community Japan’s whaling will undermine international efforts to conserve and protect whales,” Senator Campbell said.
“While Japanese scientific whaling is permitted under the rules of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), there is no scientific justification for the increasing scale of Japan’s scientific whaling programme. It is difficult not to conclude that Japan is conducting a commercial whaling programme in the Southern Ocean,” 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.
Further information about how the Australian Government is protecting whales can be found at www.saveourwhales.gov.au
Rob Broadfield (Senator Campbell's office) 08 9421 1755 or 0409 493 902