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Carter slams Japan's scientific whaling at IWC

Carter slams Japan's scientific whaling at IWC

Japan's plans to expand its scientific whaling programme are utterly devoid of any scientific credibility, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Korea today.

"I deplore Japan's stand on this issue," Mr Carter told a press conference at the IWC attended by ministers from Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand.

"Japan is a proud nation, and a model world citizen, but its new scientific whaling programme, JARPA II, is provocative and goes completely against world opinion," Mr Carter said.

"Under JARPA II, Japan plans to kill over 1000 whales a year for scientific purposes. That figure is almost half the total number taken for scientific purposes by the rest of world combined over the entire 57 year history of the International Whaling Commission."

"How can any nation argue butchery on this scale is necessary every year in the name of science, particularly when most of the rest of the world is now conducting far more credible research on whales without killing any at all?

"Some 63 leading international scientists, including some from New Zealand, have examined the scientific basis for JARPA II and can't find one," Mr Carter said.

"Either Japan's scientists have hopelessly archaic techniques, which the world knows isn't true, or this scientific programme is a complete sham.

"It is interesting to note that although Japan has been scientific whaling in Antarctic waters for 18 years, the results of this programme have never been reviewed by the IWC's scientific committee, and there has been absolutely no peer review of data from this programme," Mr Carter said.

"New Zealand is deeply concerned about the farce that scientific whaling has become. Japan now proposes to take 50 humpbacks in the Antarctic, which will have a direct impact on the number of humpbacks seen in New Zealand's $120m whale-watching industry. The population of humpbacks which migrates past New Zealand is believed to number only 2000.

The humpbacks of the southern ocean do not belong to Japan. These are our whales, they are Fiji's whales, Tonga's whales, Niue's whales.

"By claiming that its whaling programme represents legitimate science, Japan is exploiting a loop hole in the provisions on the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling," Mr Carter said.

"This makes a mockery of the IWC, and underscores just how desperately the Convention needs to be reformed and updated."

Media Contact: NZ: Nick Maling, press secretary, ph 04 470 6874, 021 890 170. Korea: Kevin Smith, ph 0082 1086 79 0278.

Editor's Note: Under JARPA II, Japan plans to kill 930 minke whales and 10 fin whales in 2005/06 in the name of science. In subsequent years it plans to take 930 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpbacks each year.

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