Jun 19, 2006

Four measures to stop the whale slaughter

Four measures to stop the whale slaughter

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

19 June 2006

Today’s win by pro-whaling nations at the International Whaling Commission is a setback for conservation efforts.

The Howard Government should support four measures to stop the whale slaughter:

1. Continued diplomatic action;

2. Take Japan to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to stop Japan’s so-called scientific whaling;

3. Stop blocking the Federal Court prosecution of Japanese whaling companies who are breaching Australia’s laws and slaughtering whales in Australian waters, and;

4. Support monitoring of Japanese factory ships hunting whales in Australian waters.

Japan will slaughter more whales in 2006 than ever before for so-called scientific whaling. Japan’s “scientific” whaling program is nothing more than a commercial meat market and is being expanded to include humpback whales.

Japan will go on slaughtering whales until a Court tells them it is unlawful.

Strong legal advice by Professor Rothwell and other experts, prepared for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, shows that Australia could successfully challenge Japanese whaling at the ITLOS.

It is pleasing that Senator Ian Campbell appears to now support Court action and has back-flipped from his November 2005 comment that Court action to save whales would be a “good cheap political stunt, but it will not save a single whale.”

In August 1999 the Howard Government appealed to the ITLOS to stop Japan fishing for southern blue fin tuna. Counsel for the Australian Government before that Tribunal was the then Attorney-General Daryl Williams.

Also in 1999, the Federal Parliament created a legal whale sanctuary in Australia’s Antarctic waters. Yet since 1999 Japan has illegally killed over 400 whales there. It’s time for the whale slaughter to stop.

Whale watching is a profitable and sustainable industry for Australia with indirect economical benefits close to $300 million. In 2004, more than 1.6 million tourists went whale watching in Australia.