New International Whaling Commissioner Announced

Friday, 18 September, 2015

IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) welcomes the appointment of Peter Woolcott, the Australian Government’s current Environment Ambassador, as Australia’s new Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC).


Commenting on the appointment, Matthew Collis, IFAW Policy and Campaigns Manager, said: “Mr Woolcott brings a wealth of diplomatic experience to this important role; he will need every ounce of it to deliver on the expectations of the public, who want to see Australia’s whaling commissioner be an outspoken critic of Japan’s plans to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean”.


Last summer was the first time in more than a century where whales were not killed in the Southern Hemisphere following Australia’s successful challenge to Japan’s previous whaling programme at the International Court of justice (ICJ).


However, Japan intends to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean in a matter of months, targeting 4,000 whales over the next 12 years, under a revised whaling program that has already been widely criticised by an expert panel of scientists established by the IWC to review the proposal. These scientists concluded the proposal did not justify the need to kill more whales.


“Mr Woolcott’s immediate challenge is to persuade the new Prime Minister to increase Australia’s diplomatic efforts. As a former Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull knows well just how opposed Australians are to whaling and his government must be the voice of the public,” said Mr Collis.


In a poll earlier this year, commissioned by IFAW, only 17% of Australians thought the government was doing enough to prevent Japan restarting Antarctic whaling.


“Mr Woolcott also needs to rally fellow members of the IWC to speak out forcefully against Japan’s plans. Australia’s global leadership against commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling has been crucial in the past and will continue to be so.  IFAW looks forward to working with Mr Woolcott towards a future where whales are no longer inhumanely slaughtered for products nobody wants and science nobody respects,” said Mr Collis.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation