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NZ joins international action against whaling

NZ joins international diplomatic action against whaling

New Zealand will join an international diplomatic protest against Japan’s whaling programme in the Antarctic, says Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick.

The Australian Government announced today that it would lead a formal diplomatic protest this year to Tokyo, as the Japanese whaling fleet is planning to catch whales in the southern ocean, south of Australia.

Steve Chadwick says New Zealand led last year’s demarche against Japan involving 27 countries, “We remain at the forefront of international efforts to prevent whaling, working with likeminded countries throughout the world.”

“New Zealand continues to take a very strong anti-whaling position, and I am particularly concerned about Japan’s plans to target humpback whales this season in the Southern Ocean.

“Killing whales for so-called ‘scientific research’ is abhorrent, and I represent the views of most New Zealanders in joining this diplomatic protest to try to stop Japanese whaling.

“The decision by the Japanese to include 50 humpback whales in their catch for the first time this season is alarming. Not to mention the 50 fin whales and up to 935 minke whales they plan to take.

“Humpback and fin whales populations are yet to recover from decades of overexploitation from commercial whaling, and taking even a small number of them could threaten the survival of some populations.”

Steve Chadwick says the humpbacks Japan intends to kill under the guise of scientific research are already being studied by non-lethal research programmes in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Tonga.

“New Zealand totally rejects claims that lethal whaling is needed for scientific research. We regard them as stunningly beautiful creatures, and see no need to kill them for scientific or any other purpose.

“We intend to continue working through diplomatic and other channels, including the International Whaling Commission, to reaffirm our strong anti-whaling position and express our concerns to the Japanese government.”

ENDS

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