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Carter deplores Iceland's decision

18 October 2006

Carter deplores Iceland's decision to resume whaling

Conservation Minister Chris Carter today deplored Iceland's decision to resume commercial whaling, and said New Zealand would make its strong feelings about the issue clear to the Icelandic government.

"Iceland's decision is extremely disappointing," Mr Carter said.

"New Zealand will be making it very clear to the Icelandic government that we utterly reject their country's right to resume commercial whaling, and remain a part of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

"Sadly, Iceland has been an ally of pro-whaling nations for years and it has been threatening to resume whaling for some time. Its history at the IWC is highly controversial," Mr Carter said.

Iceland was part of the IWC when the moratorium on commercial whaling came in to effect from 1986. At the time, it did not lodge an objection to the moratorium because its Parliament refused to do so. In 1992 it withdrew from the commission, but it rejoined in 2002 purporting to exclude itself from the moratorium.

"New Zealand does not accept the validity of this reservation. Iceland cannot escape the obligations of a convention by withdrawing from it and rejoining with a reservation against decisions taken by the convention that Iceland was part of at the time. It is nonsensical," Mr Carter said.

"As for Iceland's claim that fin whales are sufficiently abundant to hunt, there is not yet scientific consensus on fin numbers. The IWC's scientific committee is reviewing the population status of fin whales at present. It is fair to say there is widespread disagreement.

"Even if consensus were reached, the methods used to kill fin whales (the second largest animals ever to have graced the planet) are appallingly cruel. It is deeply regrettable that Iceland announced at the June IWC meeting that it would not supply data on times to death of harpooned whales if it resumed hunting," Mr Carter said.

ENDS

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