EU Parliament takes strong stand against Japanese whaling in trade talks

Friday, 12 October, 2012
Brussels, Belgium

European Parliamentarians have taken a strong stand against whaling in the context of EU – Japan trade negotiations. The adopted amendments  tabled by MEP David Martin (S&D) note the serious divergences between the EU and Japan on issues related to the management of fisheries and whaling, notably Japan’s whaling under the guise of science.  Another amendment calls for, amongst other things, an “end to this so-called scientific whaling and support (for) the designation of substantial regions of ocean and seas as sanctuaries.”

The amendments came as the INTA committee voted on its position on free trade talks between the EU and Japan at its 11 October meeting based on the draft presented by MEP Metin Kazak (ALDE). Parliament is expected to adopt its final position on the talks already in the October plenary. In June Parliament requested that the Council hold its decision on the matter until Parliament has expressed its views.

“This is a first step towards a tremendous victory for whales,” said Barbara Slee IFAW Political Officer. “We are delighted the INTA committee has recognised that bilateral agreements must ensure that our trade partners fulfil their international obligations.”

The INTA Committee emphasised the need for “a robust and ambitious sustainable development chapter… also include the establishment of a civil society forum that monitors and comments on… the effective implementation of multilateral agreements on the environment, animal welfare and the conservation of biological diversity.”

"Today the International Trade committee reiterated its total opposition to commercial and so-called scientific whaling,” said MEP David Martin. “As the EU comes closer to launching negotiations with Japan for a free trade agreement we call on Japan to review its whaling strategy and respect the global ban on this outdated and barbaric practice."

Since 1987 Japan has killed more than 13,000 whales in its two ‘scientific whaling’ programs.

“The EU supports the global ban on commercial whaling and this trade deal must reflect this position.,” concluded Slee.

A 2009 Copenhagen Economics study showed potential export gains from a free trade agreement to be €43bn for the EU and €53bn for Japan.

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