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Four Weeks To Commercial Whaling?

Greenpeace delivers “whale meat” to Japanese Ambassador

Wellington, April 23, 2002 - In four weeks, the fate of the world’s whales will be decided at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) with the pro-whaling group likely to get a majority vote.

To highlight their plight, Greenpeace today presented the Japanese Ambassador to New Zealand a petition signed by marine and cetacean biologists from around the world, calling on the Japanese Government to end “scientific” whaling, as well as delivering replica whale meat boxes representing the hypocrisy of Japanese “scientific” whaling.

“Whales hunted in the name of science are destined for the tables of restaurants and the shelves of supermarkets as a delicacy, despite a diminishing market in Japan,” said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, Pia Mancia.

“Make no mistake, scientific whaling is commercial whaling in disguise.”

Greenpeace is concerned that the Government of Japan cannot control its Fisheries Agency, which is intent on a resumption of commercial whaling despite the fact whales have still to recover from the previous decimation of whale populations.

“The Japanese Fisheries Agency is out of control and Greenpeace is asking the Government of Japan to reign them in.”

To counteract a decrease in whale meat consumption in Japan the Fisheries Agency has launched a high profile public relations campaign, handing out free whale meat samples and promoting reasons why people should eat whale.

Last year a Fisheries Agency senior official admitted some nations have sold their vote at IWC in return for foreign aid from Japan.

Should the Fisheries Agency succeed in gaining a voting majority they will be able to expand their present whaling activities and overturn the moratorium on commercial whaling, a return to factory ship whaling of the kind that decimated whale populations in the past (4); overturn the Indian Ocean whale sanctuary, and restart commercial trade with Norway and other countries which may also decide to restart whaling.

New Zealand was one of 14 countries worldwide raising awareness to the underhanded tactic that the Japanese Fishery Agency is using to force a resume of commercial whaling.

Ends

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