Conservationists support Japanese whaling decision

Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Yarmouth Port, MA
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) supports the decision made by the Government of Japan to abandon this season’s whale hunt and send its whaling fleet home.
"IFAW will continue to oppose the Government of Japan's whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary and its international efforts to expand commercial whaling, but our thoughts and prayers at this time are also with Kazutaka Makita, the crew member who has died, his wife and young children," said Patrick Ramage, IFAW's Global Whale Program Manager. "All of us at IFAW extend our heartfelt condolences to them.”
 
Ramage, who will be visiting Tokyo, Japan in mid-March to meet with government officials, scientists, and non-governmental organizations there, continued: “Hopefully, in the wake of this human tragedy, the Government of Japan will also pause and reflect on the terrible costs of this senseless slaughter and re-evaluate its approach to the whaling issue."
 
The whaling fleet of six ships, heavily subsidized by the Government of Japan, departed for its 2006/07 hunting season on November 15, 2006. It was in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary hunting a self allocated catch of more than 900 whales when fire and damage to the whale meat processing factory ship caused a halt to the hunt. The Government of Japan has added 50 endangered humpback whales to its target list for the 2007/08 whaling season.
 
The damaged Nisshin Maru, carrying hundreds of tons of fuel oil, prompted international concern over a possible oil spill as it floated near ice and in the vicinity of the world's largest Adelie penguin breeding rookery. This is the second time a Japanese whaling vessel has caught fire within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, risking considerable environmental damage, in addition to the risk to human life.
 
While commercial whaling has been banned since 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Government of Japan continues to hunt whales for what it terms “science” through an IWC loophole that allows for lethal whale research.
 
IFAW experts demonstrate that the best way to study whales in the 21st century is through non-lethal research. To learn more about the government of Japan’s whaling program and IFAW’s campaign to protect whales worldwide, visit www.stopwhalingnow.org today.

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Experts

Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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