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NZ joins diplomatic protest at Iceland's whaling

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Conservation

2 November 2006 Media Statement

NZ joins diplomatic protest against Iceland's whaling

New Zealand has joined a diplomatic protest by 25 countries and the European Commission expressing extreme disappointment at Iceland's resumption of commercial whaling in its waters, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

New Zealand was part of a formal statement or demarche that was delivered to Iceland in the nation's capital, Reykjavik, yesterday. Those participating in the demarche called on Iceland to reconsider its position, respect the internationally agreed global moratorium on whaling and halt its commercial whaling operations.

Iceland resumed commercial whaling last week and has already killed fin whales, one of the largest whale species. It announced that it plans to take nine endangered fin whales and 30 common minke whales. These whales are in addition to the minke whales Iceland has been taking as part of its scientific whaling research since 2003.

“Iceland’s decision to resume commercial whaling despite the global moratorium is deplorable," said Mr Carter.

“Iceland was part of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) when the moratorium on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986 and did not lodge an objection at the time. It withdrew from the IWC in 1992 and rejoined in 2002 with a reservation against the moratorium. New Zealand does not accept the validity of Iceland’s reservation. New Zealand and 18 other countries registered a formal objection to the reservation when Iceland rejoined.”

Mr Carter rejected Iceland’s claims that fin whales were sufficiently abundant to hunt.

“There’s no scientific consensus on fin whale numbers. The IWC’s scientific committee is currently reviewing the population status of fin whales. Iceland has gone ahead and set its own quota using criteria that have not been presented to or reviewed by the scientific committee”.

Mr Carter welcomed Iceland’s growing whale watching industry and highlighted the economic and social benefits from whale watching, adding that “a return to commercial whaling could undermine those benefits”.

Norway is the only other country that carries out commercial whaling. Japan takes whales as part of its “scientific” whaling programme.

The governments of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, together with the European Commission, all supported the formal diplomatic protest.


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