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Rhetoric On Whale Sanctuary Leaving NZ Isolated

2 April 2002
Fisheries Agency
Ministry Of Agriculture, Forestry And Fisheries, Government Of Japan

Rhetoric On Whale Sanctuary Leaving Australia And New Zealand Isolated

Australia’s plan to re-introduce the twice-failed proposal for a so-called “whale sanctuary” in the South Pacific is outrageous, Japan’s Fisheries Agency said today.

The comment was made by Masayuki Komatsu, Japan’s Alternate Commissioner to the IWC and Councillor at the Fisheries Agency, in response to statements by Australia’s Environment Minister David Kemp. “For Australia to reintroduce this proposal for a third time is insulting to other IWC members,” Mr Komatsu said. “Australia, along with New Zealand, is deliberately continuing efforts to make the IWC irrelevant. They are missing the point about what the IWC is for.”

“This proposal, which requires 75 percent of votes, will fail again because it has no scientific basis, it is not needed for conservation purposes, and it is not wanted,” Mr Komatsu said.

Mr Komatsu said: “Japan will simply ask that this item be deleted from the meeting agenda so the IWC can get on with its business of completing the Revised Management Scheme and bring about a resumption of commercial whaling on a sustainable basis. That is what the IWC is supposed to be doing.”

“Whales are abundant. The Revised Management Scheme includes a risk-averse system developed by the IWC’s Scientific Committee for calculating safe quotas for abundant whale stocks. It also includes an observation and inspection scheme to ensure quotas are not exceeded. As members of the IWC, Australia and New Zealand have an obligation to work towards this objective in good faith.”

“As Japan has said for the last two years, they should leave their frivolous proposal for the sanctuary at home,” Mr Komatsu said.

“Fewer IWC member nations are believing the rhetoric of Australia and New Zealand, leaving the members from down under more isolated in their attempts to have a whaling organization be responsible for non-whaling activities,” Mr Komatsu said.

(Page 1 of 2 – Rhetoric on Whale Sanctuary leaving Australia and New Zealand isolated)
(Page 2 of 2 – Rhetoric on Whale Sanctuary leaving Australia and New Zealand isolated)

“These countries are responsible for the dysfunctional nature of the IWC. They are setting a bad precedent for much needed international cooperation in resource management.”

Mr Komatsu said: “The sanctuary proposal has no scientific basis, it ignores the impacts of fish consumption by whales and ignores the calls of international fisheries management organizations, such as the UN Food and Agricultural Organization and the International Coalition for Fisheries Associations, for eco-system or multi-species management.”

Mr Komatsu noted that whales consume up to five times the amount of marine resources caught for human consumption. This is, in many cases, in direct competition with fisheries.

“The IWC members recognize this and last year unanimously adopted a resolution to investigate as a high priority the interaction between whales and fish stocks. The IWC has recognized the importance of an eco-system approach to management of all marine resources and this is important progress for the IWC.”


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