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Call for urgent action on whaling, overfishing

Maritime Union calls for urgent action on whaling and overfishing

The Maritime Union of New Zealand say the developing situation around the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean could be a turning point in the battle against the exploitation of the marine environment.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says he believes an opportunity has arisen where the international reaction against whaling could create pressure for change in protecting the wider marine environment.

"The sad fact is that one of the only ways to protect marine life is the type of direct action we have seen, which has brought the attention of the world to focus on the whaling issue."

Mr Hanson says the Government could send a frigate to observe events, as a signal of the extreme concern and disappointment of the New Zealand people.

"We have allowed the slaughter of whales right up to the point of extinction. Now we have realized the terrible mistake and we must try to protect this species and all other marine species that have been devastated by overfishing."

Mr Hanson says the Maritime Union has for some years been pointing out the links between overfishing and exploitation of fishing crews, and has previously spoken out against whaling.

He says the Union would like to see far stronger regulation and controls on a national and international level to protect marine life and fishing and maritime workers from rampant exploitation.

"The situation is one where the abuses occur out of sight and out of mind, driven by a stripmining mentality that is only interested in short term profits."

Mr Hanson says Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters are in our backyard, and as a nation we have a responsibility to protect the marine environment for future generations.

ENDS

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