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13 June 2010
Environment Protection Minister, Peter Garrett, today called on member nations of the International Whaling Commission to work together at the upcoming International Whaling Commission annual meeting to secure the effective conservation of the world's whales.
Launching an on-line video message Minister Garrett called on those nations that had a proud history of standing up for the conservation whales to join Australia and a growing number of other IWC nations to preserve the moratorium on commercial whaling.
"We are a week out from the single most important annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in almost 30 years," Mr Garrett said.
"This year's meeting in Morocco is a new crossroads in the battle to conserve and protect the world's whale populations.
"At this meeting the IWC is considering a proposal that would once again legitimise commercial whaling operations.
"Governments are being asked to allow limited commercial whaling and agree to allow Iceland, Japan and Norway to hunt almost 13,000 whales over the next 10 years.
"This proposal would permit whaling in the IWC whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean and would also allow threatened species like fin and sei whales to be hunted.
"The Australian Government cannot accept this proposal as it currently stands.
"Instead, our own proposal for IWC reform seeks nine key improvements to the Chairs' plan, including an end to so-called 'scientific' whaling, an end to Southern Ocean whaling and whaling on vulnerable species, and the rigorous use of science. We are heartened by the number of conservation-minded countries, who, on the eve of this crucial IWC conference, are declaring themselves forcefully in support of these vital principles of whale conservation.
"We welcome the efforts of the Latin American countries and many European countries to ensure the outcome from this meeting does not undo the conservation gains of the past two decades. We will keep working with these countries and others, including New Zealand and the United States, to promote genuine IWC reform and improved protection for whales globally.
"Australia is committed to continue the fight for stronger and longer lasting conservation actions for the world's great whales. This is not the time to go backwards," Mr Garrett said.
To view the video message go to http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/iwc/index.html
Follow the Minister's regular IWC updates on Twitter - twitter.com/PGwhalewatch