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Government releases footage of Japanese whaling

Government releases footage of Japanese whaling

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion undertaking surveillance against illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean has sighted Japanese whaling vessels operating in the Ross Sea, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

“The Orion has taken footage of the Japanese fleet's activities. Three whaling vessels were observed harpooning, hauling and processing whales. Given the strong public interest in this issue, the government has decided to make the footage available to the media," Mr Carter.

"In doing so, we hope to allow the public to make up their own minds about Japan's whaling activities."

Japan plans to kill up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales this season under its controversial JARPA II scientific whaling programme in the Southern Ocean. From next year, JARPA II is due to expand to include 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales.

“The New Zealand government strongly believes whales can be studied and effectively managed without being killed," Mr Carter said.

"The humpbacks to be targeted next year are already being studied in non-lethal scientific research undertaken on the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Tonga."

The International Whaling Commission has banned commercial whaling since 1986. However, under Article 8 of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling, International Whaling Commission members are allowed to award themselves quotas to kill whales for scientific purposes.

“New Zealand has been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent whaling, and expose the heavily contested scientific basis for lethal whale research. We regard the release of this footage today as part of that effort," Mr Carter said.

Last month New Zealand led a formal diplomatic protest on Japan to express opposition to Japan’s whaling in the Southern Ocean. A record number of 27 countries supported the protest, signalling that significant world opinion is firmly opposed to Japan’s whaling programme.


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