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Cyber-action against Japanese scientific whaling

New Zealanders urged to join international day of action against Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling


Auckland, 30 August 2000

Today 19 Greenpeace offices around the world are sending a clear message to Japan condemning its expanded 'scientific' whale hunt in the North Pacific. In New Zealand, Greenpeace has designed a ‘cyberaction’, for the general public to take action, by visiting http://www.greenpeace.org.nz, and have also sent a letter to the Japanese Embassy. Greenpeace is calling on Japan to immediately halt this whaling programme, to withdraw the permit that has been issued, and to recall the fleet to port.

Twenty-seven whales including one sperm whale and four Brydes whales have already been killed during this hunt. This is the first year since the moratorium on whaling came into force in 1986 that these species of whale have been targeted. Both sperm and Brydes whales were heavily exploited in the past.

"The International community has already shown opposition to this expanded 'scientific' whale hunt," said John Frizell, Greenpeace International whales campaigner. "How much longer will Japan continue to defy international opinion and undermine international conservation measures?".

In Tokyo last week representatives of fifteen governments urged Japan to end this scientific whaling programme. Governments represented included New Zealand, Austria, Brazil, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Personal appeals to end the 'scientific' hunt have been made by the U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The plans for this hunt were met with opposition at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting held in Adelaide in July. A strongly worded resolution noting that its scientific committee had not endorsed the proposal and urging Japan not to proceed with the hunt was passed with an overwhelming majority by the IWC.

"This hunt is not about science but about feeding the lucrative demand for whale meat," said Frizell.

Meat from the whales caught during this hunt will be sold as a delicacy on the open market in Japan. By exploiting a loophole in the IWC's rules, Japan kills over five hundred whales per year. Japan claims that the purpose of the extended hunt in the North Pacific is to gather information about the interaction between whales and their prey species, but the IWC has concluded that this does not justify the killing of whales for research purposes.

For further information contact Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace International Communications on +31 625 031005, or Tricia Allen on 09 630 6317.

Stills available on request : contact John Novis +31 656 819121

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