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Lee, Mclay – Whaling Mimics For Greenpeace

21 May 2002

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee and New Zealand whaling commissioner Jim McLay are merely government mimics for Greenpeace as they continue to give wrong information to the public of New Zealand over their sanctuary proposal.

“It’s very clear from Lee’s and McLay’s public comments they are merely repeating worn-out Greenpeace rubbish – they’re exhibiting all the signs of a pair of mimics. You have to ask if it’s Greenpeace or the elected representatives who are formulating New Zealand whaling policy,” Japan’s alternate commissioner to the International Whaling Commission, Masayuki Komatsu, said today.

Mr Komatsu said New Zealand continues to abuse the IWC by reintroducing its proposal for a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific. “How many times does this proposal have to be defeated before Ms Lee and Mr McLay get the point. The IWC was never intended to be a protectionist organisation. It is there to regulate the whaling industry for whaling nations.”

“Instead, they continue to obstruct the work of the Commission through frivolous proposals such as the sanctuary and thwart the implementation of the Revised Management Scheme. It is time New Zealand began to abide by its international obligations or leave the IWC.”

“Even Ms Lee openly admitted there was no chance of it succeeding, yet she says New Zealand will continue to put this item on the agenda. In doing so, she undermines the credibility of the IWC and further polarizes its members.”

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

“Whales are already protected by the current moratorium. When it is lifted, abundant species will be managed under an extremely conservative quota system. Species still considered depleted will remain protected and will not be hunted.”

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 acknowledge this, and last year unanimously adopted a resolution by the United States and Japan 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.”

“New Zealand’s continued adherence to an anti-whaling agenda only isolates them among IWC members. Anti-whaling is not the majority worldview, given only just over 40 nations out of more than 200 belong to the IWC,” Mr Komatsu said.

“The sanctuary issue should now be a dead issue after three consecutive failures. The important issue is for the Revised Management Scheme to be completed to allow for whaling to resume under a conservative and risk-averse quota system for abundant stocks.”

“If Australia and New Zealand were so passionate about whale sanctuaries, they should lead by example: by turning their own Exclusive Economic Zones into one. They haven’t. Yet they’re quick to have South Pacific Island nations, like the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Niue, turn their EEZ’s into sanctuaries.”

“As the vote shows, fewer IWC member nations are believing the rhetoric of New Zealand, leaving it more isolated in its attempts to have a whaling organization be responsible for non-whaling activities,” Mr Komatsu said.

ENDS

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