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NZ leads largest protest yet against whaling

NZ leads largest protest yet against Japan's whaling

New Zealand has led the largest single diplomatic protest yet against Japan's lethal scientific whaling programme in the Antarctic, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

Representatives of a total of 27 countries took part in the demarche at the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on December 15. A further protest is planned for Monday at the Japanese Fisheries Agency.

"The Japanese whaling fleet is due to arrive in the Southern Ocean within the next week for a further season of lethal scientific whaling," Mr Carter said.

"New Zealand wanted to send a very strong message to the Japanese government before the start of its scientific whaling programme. I'm delighted that a record number of countries agreed to participate in this protest, signalling once again that significant world opinion is firmly opposed to Japan's methods."

Although the International Whaling Commission adopted a global moratorium on commercial whaling from 1985, Japan awards itself quotas under Article VIII of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling to carry out “scientific” whaling.

Japan intends to kill up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and 10 fin whales this summer.

“Adequate data for whale management purposes can be obtained using non lethal techniques – there’s no need to kill whales to study them. We consider that Japan’s scientific whaling undermines international efforts to conserve and protect whales," Mr Carter said.

“We are also alarmed that from next year, JARPA II is due to expand to include 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales. Fin whales are classified as “endangered” on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and humpback whales are classified as “vulnerable”.

"To make matters worse, the humpbacks Japan will be killing are already being studied in non-lethal scientific research undertaken on the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Tonga, " Mr Carter said.

The following countries supported Friday's demarche: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.


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