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NZ will not walk away from the IWC

24 May 2002 Media Statement

Lee firm: "New Zealand will not walk away from the International Whaling Commission"

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee, today described as "extremely disturbing" final day moves at the International Whaling Commission annual meeting in Japan, to block indigenous subsistence whaling that has traditionally been approved.

Ms Lee says the moves follow a series of failures early in the conference by pro-whaling nations to secure IWC backing for proposed coastal whaling by Japan.

"New Zealand has voted in favor of granting indigenous whale meat quotas that conform to IWC requirements, such as allowing the Inuit of Alaska and the Chukotka of Siberia to meet their subsistence needs. I am deeply disturbed that Japan and some closely associated states have—for the first time—voted to block such quotas."

Following its defeat earlier in the week for a new proposal for a coastal whaling quota, Japan attempted to have this issue linked to the quota for the Alaskan Inuit Eskimos and the indigenous people of Chukotka. When this failed Japan and others then proceeded to block the quota, succeeding by one vote.

"Despite this disappointing outcome, New Zealand will not walk away from the International Whaling Commission and the international whaling moratorium. This is the main forum where New Zealand and other pro-conservation countries can work to protect whales," Ms Lee said.

The Conservation Minister also welcomed an announcement by Australia that it had nominated six species of Great Whales for inclusion in Appendix II of the Bonn Convention (the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals). This will complement efforts by New Zealand and Australia within the IWC to establish a South Pacific whale sanctuary.


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