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Greenpeace - Commercial Whaling Could Return

Greenpeace Warns That Commercial Whaling Could Return In New Millennium

Auckland/ MV Arctic Sunrise, Australia, 25 January 2000: - As the Greenpeace vessel, the MV Arctic Sunrise, arrived in Australia today after over a month on the high seas taking non- violent direct action to disrupt Japan’s illegal whaling programme, Greenpeace warned that the path towards resumed commercial whaling could be cleared this year.

The MV Arctic Sunrise arrived in Fremantle, Australia at 10am local time. The Greenpeace activists on board have taken non- violent direct action eleven times over the past month to disrupt the Japanese fleet that is whaling illegally in the protected Southern Ocean Sanctuary in the Antarctic.

New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, the UK, the US and Australia have recently urged Japan to cancel its illegal Antarctic whaling programme. “Japan’s attempts to continue whaling despite international opposition must be stopped. It’s now down to all governments of the world not to simply pay lip service to international law but to ensure it is applied,” said John Bowler of Greenpeace, on board the Arctic Sunrise.

Japan continues to ignore global environmental concern and repeated requests from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. It is also in violation of articles 65 and 120 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, (UNCLOS – adopted in 1982) which requires all states to co-operate with the IWC in the matter of whale protection.

Japan’s illegal whaling programme is part of an ambitious strategy to resume large-scale commercial whaling on the high seas. The Government of Japan, with the support of Norway, is actively lobbying countries that are members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to lift the current ban on all international trade in whale products.

“The threat that Japan will pave the path towards commercial whaling this year is very real. The current ban on international trade in whale products is in jeopardy and Japan is doing its best to make sure that the protected status of some whale populations is removed,” added Bowler.

If Japan and Norway are successful, the resumption of international trade in whale products will be a powerful incentive to both countries to substantially increase their whaling. The decision on whether or not to remove the trade ban will be taken at the next CITES meeting in Nairobi, April 2000.

For further information or to arrange interviews contact: Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace New Zealand 09-630-6317 or 025- 927-301 Rupert Posner, Greenpeace Australia press desk, + (61) 419 179 529 MV Arctic Sunrise: John Bowler, +873-130 25 77 Stills of John Bowler on board the Arctic Sunrise are available

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