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NZ reiterates deep concern about whaling

11 January 2006

NZ reiterates deep concern about whaling

The New Zealand government today reiterated its deep concerns about whaling operations currently underway by the Japanese in the Southern Ocean.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said the government totally rejects claims that the whaling is needed for scientific research.

"The New Zealand government is deeply concerned about the whales being killed under Japan’s new scientific research programme in Antarctica (JARPA II). A critique of the programme I released in December by internationally respected whale experts showed it lacks any scientific credibility.

"New Zealanders regard whales as iconic creatures and do not understand the need to kill them for scientific or any other purposes. Lethal methods are not necessary to provide information on whale populations.

"Protest action taking currently place in the Southern Ocean against the Japanese whaling fleet reflects the strong feelings many New Zealanders share. I urge restraint by all parties in what is one of the most dangerous and remote environments on the planet.

"Japan has taken over 6,500 Antarctic minke whales in the Southern Ocean for the purposes of scientific research. This year it plans to take a further 935 minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales. There are also plans to ultimately kill the endangered humpback whale.

"New Zealand takes a strong anti-whaling position and will continue to do so. We have been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent whaling, working with other likeminded countries including Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, most European nations, the United States and Latin America.

"We intend to continue working through diplomatic and other channels to reaffirm our strong anti-whaling position and express our deep concerns to the Japanese government about the continuing slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean. We will also work to maintain the current moratorium on commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission when it next meets in St Kitts and Nevis in June," Chris Carter said.

ENDS

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