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Cablegate: Nz-Australia Whaling Venture Unveiled

VZCZCXRO4516
RR RUEHNZ
DE RUEHWL #0323/01 2740358
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300358Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5455
INFO RUEHNZ/AMCONSUL AUCKLAND 1749
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 5270
RUEHDN/AMCONSUL SYDNEY 0725
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0722
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0106
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0207

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000323

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND OES
PACOM FOR J01E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EFIS SENV NZ
SUBJECT: NZ-AUSTRALIA WHALING VENTURE UNVEILED

1. (U) Summary. On September 10, the governments of
New Zealand and Australia announced a joint venture to
undertake non-lethal scientific research of whales in
the South Oceans to better manage whale numbers in the
region. Although both governments avoided characterising
the proposed research program as a means to confront
Japan's whaling research program, Greenpeace New Zealand
would like it to be used in this way. Both governments
will now work toward developing the research program and
building support within the ICW, with the expectation that
it will begin in late 2009-10. End Summary.

Joint New Whale Conservation Initiative Unveiled
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (U) On September 10, New Zealand Conservation
Minister Steve Chadwick and Australian Environment
Minister Peter Garrett announced in Auckland a joint
New Zealand-Australia initiative to develop a non-
lethal whale research in the Southern Ocean. Garrett
stated that the aim of the initiative is to increase
the global commitment to non-lethal research to better
manage the recovery of whales. He cited the dramatic
reduction in whale numbers in the South Ocean region,
particularly the South Pacific Humpback, as
justification for non-lethal research. Chadwick
stated that the new initiative in the Southern Ocean
would build on the innovative and collaborative
approach Australia and New Zealand have always brought
to this area. Both governments predict the initiative
will expand its membership to other nations active in
or neighbouring the Southern Ocean.

Part of a Larger Plan to Reform the ICW
---------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The initiative is led by Australia, which
proposed the creation of a world-wide collection of
research partnerships, such as the Southern Ocean
initiative, in advance of the June 23-27, 2008
International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in
Chile. The proposal was widely welcomed at that
meeting, which included delegates from the United
Kingdom and hosts, Chile. New Zealand Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFAT) Policy Officer Finnian Cheshire
of the Environment Division told post that The GNZ has
not yet received any explicit statements of support
for the proposal from IWC-member governments.
However, he expressed confidence that broad support will be
forthcoming once governments further study the
proposal. The creation of world-wide research
partnerships forms part of a larger New Zealand and
Australia plan to modernise the IWC and make it into
a 21st Century conservation-focused organisation.

Confronting Japan Not the Goal
------------------------------

4. (SBU) Both ministers were careful in public
remarks to avoid mentioning Japan and its
controversial scientific whaling policy. MFAT's
Cheshire stressed that the proposed initiative should
be seen exclusively as a genuine program of non-lethal
research rather than a means to directly confront
Japan. However, Greenpeace New Zealand Executive
Director Bunny McDiarmid hopes that the initiative
will openly challenge the legitimacy of Japan's whale
research program. McDiarmid hoped that the program
will be a serious challenge to Japan's supposedly
scientific program that kills whales while offering
little scientific value for the past 20 years and
asserted that scientific study of whales on the South
Ocean could be gathered without killing whales. The
Japanese Government has not commented on the proposed
non-lethal research program.

Economic Upside
---------------

5. (U) Chadwick believes that there is a significant
economic upside for the region in developing non-
lethal scientific whale research. She claimed that
because the proposed science is reliable and would

WELLINGTON 00000323 002 OF 002


support sustainable management of whales, the whale-
watching industry in Australia, New Zealand and other
Pacific Island countries would benefit enormously.

Next Steps
----------

6. (SBU) Chadwick and Garrett announced that both
their governments would continue to work together to
reform the management of science in the IWC and
evelop internationally-agreed, cooperative
conservation management plans for whales. Garrett
stated that Australia plans to host an international
gathering of whale scientists in February 2009 to
draft a five-year research plan for whales in the
Southern Ocean. He anticipated that this plan will be
reviewed by the IWC Scientific Committee and finalised
in June 2009, with the research program expected to
begin in late 2009-10. MFAT's Cheshire said the
initiative is still a work in progress and that the
New Zealand Government is now engaged in a process of
determining the how best to further contribute to the
South Oceans initiative and whether its jurisdiction
should be expanded to include the Ross Sea.

Keegan

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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