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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage


Environment Minister Robert Hill says Australia is appalled that Japan is proceeding with its plans to increase the number of species it takes under its so-called 'research' whaling program.

The Japanese whaling fleet has set sail for the North Pacific, where it intends to take 100 whales including minke, Bryde's and sperm whales. Previously Japan has taken only minke whales under its research whaling programs in the North Pacific and the Southern Ocean.

Senator Hill said Australia had made strong diplomatic representations to the Japanese Government expressing its opposition to the proposal and seeking an end to all research whaling.

"When the International Whaling Commission met in Adelaide this month, it passed a resolution co-sponsored by Australia that strongly urged the Government of Japan to refrain from issuing special permits for whaling in the North Pacific." Senator Hill said.

Senator Hill said he was deeply disappointed that the Japanese Government had disregarded the weight of international opinion. "There is no scientific justification for whales to be killed in order for them to be studied. It is time for the Government of Japan to acknowledge that this whaling program is unnecessary and inhumane" he said.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) noted that scientist have expressed many concerns about this program, including that it does not address questions of high priority for the management of whale populations, does not make full use of existing data and has many methodological problems.

Senator Hill called upon the Government of Japan to revoke the special permits for whaling and to use only non-lethal methods in studying whale populations.

Media contact: Matt Brown (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515

Commonwealth of Australia