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NZ Should Leave Whale Sanctuary Proposal At Home

MEDIA RELEASE
12 July 2001.

Australia And New Zealand Should Leave Their Frivolous Whale Sanctuary Proposal At Home

“The positions of the Governments of Australia and New Zealand are threatening the continued existence of the International Whaling Commission and they will attend the meeting of the Commission’s annual meeting for all the wrong reasons,” says Japan.

Joji Morishita, the Deputy Director of the Government of Japan’s Fisheries Agency made these comments in response to continuing press statements from Senator Robert Hill of Australia and Conservation Minister Sandra Lee of New Zealand that they will continue their efforts to establish a whale sanctuary for the South Pacific at the upcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission in London.

“The proposed sanctuary was defeated at last year’s meeting because it has no scientific basis, it is not needed for conservation and it subverts the purpose of the Treaty which is to manage whaling on a sustainable basis,” Mr Morishita said.

He added, “The positions of the Governments of Australia and New Zealand to oppose the resumption of any commercial whaling irrespective of the status of whale stocks undermines almost a decade of work by the IWC and its Scientific Committee and the conservative, risk-averse procedure for managing whaling that has been developed.”

“Their continued efforts to block the implementation of this procedure and thereby the resumption of whaling threatens the continued existence of the IWC. It is also contrary to the principle of sustainable use of resources that is now the world standard and applied by both Governments in the management of their domestic resources.”

“Australia’s and New Zealand’s positions are clearly a double standard and represent a false green. Overprotection of whale populations, which are now abundant and increasing, not only threatens the existence of the IWC but it threatens to undermine international efforts to conserve other fishery resources,” said Mr Morishita.

(more to come)
“Whales consume three to five times the amount of fishery resources harvested for human consumption and the direct competition between whales and fisheries has been recognized as a serious problem worldwide.”

“The focus of this year’s meeting should be about implementing the IWC’s management procedure that would provide safe quotas only for abundant stocks. As a member of the IWC, Australia and New Zealand have a legal obligation to work towards this objective in good faith. They should leave their frivolous proposal for the sanctuary at home,” said Mr Morishita.

For more information contact: Joji Morishita, Deputy Director, Far Seas Fisheries Division, Fisheries Agency, Government of Japan at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith. Ph 0044 208 741 1555

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