Japanese whaling—a threat to whale recovery

Friday, May 20, 2005
Sydney, Australia
The Australian Government’s whale recovery plans, released today by the Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, are a welcome step in the right direction.

However, the plans are powerless to stop Japanese whaling—one of the most serious threats to whale recovery.

“It is all well and good for Australia to attempt to put her own house in order but there are other governments that are determined to tear the house down brick by brick,” said Darren Kindleysides, of IFAW Asia Pacific.

Japan currently kills up to 440 minke whales in the Antarctic for so-called ‘scientific’ purposes.  Reports indicate that Japan intends to increase this catch to more than 800 minke whales and add two further species of whale—humpback and fin—to their expanded Antarctic whaling program.

“While the Australian Government has condemned Japan’s proposal, we need to see concrete action to ensure the proposal is withdrawn,” said Mr Kindleysides.

“Will the Government call for the Japanese Government to be brought before the International Court of Justice to face charges of abuse of rights?  “Will the Government stop Japanese fishing boats entering our ports—after all we have done so in the past?”

Australia and New Zealand banned port access to Japanese tuna boats in early 1998 when the two countries and Japan fell out over the allowable catch for Southern Bluefin Tuna.

“We look forward to seeing these questions answered as there will be no whale recovery without an end to the sham that is ‘scientific’ whaling,” said Mr Kindleysides.

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Experts

Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
IFAW Japan Representative
IFAW Japan Representative
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales