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23 nations condemn Iceland's whaling plan

23 nations condemn Iceland's whaling plan

New Zealand has joined 23 countries in signing a formal statement presented to the Icelandic government today urging it to reconsider its decision to commence scientific whaling. “We’re pleased to be part of the protest to the Icelandic Government. The fact that 23 countries supported the statement demonstrates how important the issue is and the strength of opposition worldwide to Iceland’s actions,” Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

The statement describes Iceland’s proposal to hunt 38 minke whales in 2003 as being unjustified and unnecessary.

“Iceland’s action follows this year’s International Whaling Commission (IWC) resolution that scientific whaling operations represent an act contrary to the spirit of the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling," the ministers said.

“The resolution urges countries to terminate, or not to begin, such activities and to conduct scientific research using only non-lethal methods.

“We’re worried Iceland’s co-called “scientific” whaling programme is a precursor to the resumption of commercial whaling and that they will follow Japan’s lead and sell the products of the hunt on the commercial market.

“The New Zealand Government strongly supports the current moratorium banning commercial whaling. We seek the absolute protection of whales, other than for aboriginal subsistence whaling by indigenous communities whose requests meet the IWC’s criteria.

“New Zealand and Iceland cooperate on many issues – climate change and global fish conservation in particular. It’s in this context that New Zealand strongly urges Iceland to reconsider it decision to recommence scientific whaling,” the ministers said.

The countries involved in the statement are: Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, the United States, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Peru, San Marino, Spain and Switzerland.

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