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Japan: No Scientific Basis For Whale Sanctuaries

No Scientific Basis For Sanctuaries

Japan’s Commissioner to the IWC, Mr. Minoru Morimoto, said today that, “the decision to continue the sanctuary in the Antarctic contradicts science and the International Convention which requires that it’s regulations be based on scientific findings.”

Last year, the Commission brought outside experts to review the Southern Ocean sanctuary. These external reviewers concluded that: the Southern Ocean Sanctuary and IWC sanctuaries in general are not ecologically justified, that sanctuaries represented an excessively broad approach to conservation, whereby a large area is protected with little apparent rationale for boundary selection and management prescriptions within the sanctuary, and that they are more prohibitive than precautionary.

“These conclusions of the external reviewers highlight major flaws in the IWC’s approach to sanctuaries and support the position of Japan that the SOS should be abolished,” said Mr. Morimoto. “It also confirms our position that the establishment of the sanctuary in 1994 had no scientific basis and that it was therefore contrary to the International Whaling Convention,” he said.

Mr. Morimoto emphasized that the Commission’s Scientific Committee has confirmed that whale resources in the Antarctic are abundant and that these could be sustainably harvested. “There is no scientific reason why commercial whaling in the Antarctic cannot be resumed,” he said.

Mr. Morimoto also said that the Commission did the right thing in rejecting again proposals for new sanctuaries in the South Pacific and South Atlantic. “These proposals have been rejected time and time again because they lack any scientific basis and are not needed for conservation purposes,” he said.

Mr. Morimoto said that the position of Australia and New Zealand as well as that of Brazil in proposing these sanctuaries is “absurd”.

“The position that all whales should be protected irrespective of the status of stocks doesn’t belong in an organization whose objective is to provide for sustainable whaling – these countries are simply in the wrong place with the wrong view,” he said.

© Scoop Media

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