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The Hon Peter Garrett MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Australia advances a new proposal for whale conservation

Media release
25 February 2010
PG/18

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The Australian Government has overnight submitted to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) a new proposal to advance Australia's strong conservation agenda in negotiations on the future of whaling.

This proposal outlines the key elements that Australia views as necessary to deliver an outcome in the IWC negotiations. Specifically, the proposal calls for:

The Australian proposal also provides that no new whaling be permitted on species or populations not currently hunted, that hunting for vulnerable species end immediately and no whaling to take place in sanctuaries.

Australian officials will advance this proposal at next week's meeting of the Small Working Group on the Future of the IWC, in Florida.

This group was charged with the task of breaking the gridlock that has beset the IWC for decades. As a nation with a keen interest in whale conservation, Australia has been a constructive participant in these discussions since they commenced in 2008.

However, the Government has made clear throughout this process that we need to see real results.

While the Government acknowledges the efforts made by participants in these discussions, the approach now under discussion in the Commission falls well short of any outcome that Australia could accept.

That is why we have now brought forward this new proposal to advance true conservation objectives; and specifically to bring about an end to commercial and so-called scientific whaling right around the world.

Australia will continue to engage in the Small Working Group process to do all we can to achieve the objectives outlined in this new proposal. However if Australia's principled conservation objectives cannot be secured in the negotiations, Australia will initiate legal action against Japan in the International Court of Justice before the next Southern Ocean whaling season.

The full text of the proposal is attached and will be available at www.environment.gov.au.

Commonwealth of Australia