GREENPEACE CALLS ON JAPAN AND NORWAY TO WITHDRAW PROPOSALS TO OVERTURN TRADE BAN ON WHALES
Auckland, 9th April 2000: As the Japanese whaling fleet offloaded its cargo of 439 minke whales hunted illegally in the protected Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Greenpeace called on Japan and Norway to withdraw their proposals to resume an international trade in whales.
Japan and Norway are aggressively lobbying other countries, including such South Pacific nations as the Solomon Islands, to support their proposals to overturn the international ban on trade in whale products at this week’s meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in Nairobi, Kenya (1).
“Japan and Norway should immediately withdraw their proposals, stop wasting the time of the CITES meeting and undermining international efforts to protect whales,” says Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace New Zealand Ocean Ecology Campaigner.
“Japan and Norway are trying to use CITES to undermine the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling”, Says John Frizell, Greenpeace International whales campaigner. “Decimation of whale populations during the last century shows that nothing short of a ban on commercial exploitation, backed by a ban on international trade, gives whales the protection they need. If the current trade ban is lifted, whaling will spiral out of control once again. It will be a disaster for whales.”
Despite the fact that the CITES Secretariat has recommended that Japan and Norway’s proposals be rejected, both whaling nations are still pressing CITES to allow the international trade in minke and gray whales. Japan and Norway currently hunt minke whales in the southern ocean and north Atlantic and North Pacific, despite the international ban.
The catch unloaded from the whaling ship Nisshin Maru will be sold on the Japanese market at an estimated wholesale value of US$35 million and will retail for about US$100 million (2).
That catch includes whales which Greenpeace activists, New Zealanders amongst them, tried to prevent being caught during non-violent direct action in December and January. The international community, including the New Zealand government, voiced strong opposition to Japan’s continued illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.
further information contact:
Sarah Duthie, Ocean Ecology Campaigner 09 630-6317 or 025 927 301.
Stills and footage of Greenpeace actions in the Southern Ocean this year as well as Norwegian and Japanese whaling fleets catching and processing whale meat and blubber, are available by calling 09 630-6317.
Notes for Editors:
(1) CITES takes place
in Nairobi on 10-20 April 2000. Three proposals concern
the ‘downlisting’ of the minke whale, Balaenoptera
acutorostrata, from Appendix I to Appendix II of the CITES
list. Two have been submitted by Japan for the Okhotsk
Sea-West Pacific and Southern Hemisphere stocks
and one has been submitted by Norway for the Northeast and North Atlantic Central stocks. Japan is also proposing the same downlisting for Eastern Pacific stock of gray whales, Eschrichtius robustus. Downlisting allows for trade in listed species.
(2) Whilst Norway ignores the IWC’s ban on commercial whaling, Japan conducts whaling under the guise of ‘scientific research’ despite the fact that the IWC has repeatedly asked Japan to stop this program and its scientists have concluded that the program is ‘not required for management’. By hunting whales, Japan is in violation of articles 65 and 120 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.