Unique whale research vessel to sail London to Jersey taking anti-whaling message to international meeting

Wednesday, 6 July, 2011
A whale research vessel sets sail from London tomorrow (Thu) in a symbolic journey to Jersey to take an anti-whaling message to this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

IFAW’s state-of-the-art Song of the Whale, which uses non-harmful methods to study whales, is currently in St Katharine Docks in London before IFAW’s team of whale experts sail to the 63rd annual IWC meeting to urge delegates to protect the ban on commercial whaling and remind them that it is not necessary to kill whales to study them.

Tonight (Wed), IFAW hosts an event for UK politicians who are invited to tour the boat and hear IFAW’s message of whale protection. Richard Benyon MP, UK Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, will also speak at the event.

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary. There is no humane way to kill a whale and with little appetite for whale meat these days, meat from slaughtered whales frequently lies unused in frozen storage. IFAW is also calling for greater openness and accountability in the way IWC operates to ensure it runs efficiently and without room for corruption.

The UK Government has also put forward proposals for this year’s meeting (July 11-14) aimed at improving the transparency and efficiency of the IWC.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Delegates have an opportunity to make positive and lasting change for whales when they meet in Jersey next week. IFAW urges representatives of the 89 member governments of the IWC to do all they can to ensure UK proposals for transparency and efficiency are adopted and that the IWC is turned into a genuine conservation body for whales.

“IFAW believes it is unacceptable that whales are still being cruelly harpooned for commercial reasons. At a time when whales face more threats than ever, it is vital we do all we can to protect them for future generations.”

Actor John Nettles is backing IFAW’s work to protect whales at the IWC. The stage and screen star, known to millions as DCI Tom Barnaby in ITV’s long-running Midsomer Murders, which he starred in until earlier this year, also has a long association with Jersey, which was the location for BBC’s Bergerac, another hit series in which he played a detective.

He said: “I’m proud to support IFAW’s campaign to protect whales. It is vital that the International Whaling Commission meeting in Jersey adopts the strongest possible level of protection for whales across the world.”

IFAW (www.ifaw.org) works around the globe to protect whales from the many threats they face including commercial whaling, man-made ocean noise, pollution, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris and climate change. It promotes responsible whale watching as a humane and sustainable alternative to the cruelty of whaling.

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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