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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

14 May 2002

Dr Kemp to Attend IWC 54 and Call for Whale Protection

Australia will strongly advocate the cessation of whale hunting and the establishment of whale sanctuaries at the 54th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, said today.

"I look forward to joining Australia's delegation next week in Shimonoseki. I am attending to convey in person the Government's absolute commitment to the protection of whales," Dr Kemp said.

Dr Kemp will go to Japan to argue for the establishment of a whale sanctuary in the South Pacific.

"Australia will stand with New Zealand for sanctuary for whales in our region," Dr Kemp said.

"Since the IWC last met, the countries of the South Pacific have reaffirmed their support for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary. I will call on the IWC to honour this regional consensus. Every vote against the proposal will be a vote to deny the wishes of the people of the South Pacific."

Australia will also lend its support to a Brazilian proposal to establish a South Atlantic Sanctuary.

"Australia supports the global move towards the only use of whales that is truly sustainable - whale-watching and tourism. At the IWC meeting, we will oppose plans to hunt whales, whether for an overt commercial purpose, or under a so-called "scientific" program. We encourage all IWC members to restrict whale research to non-lethal science, as we do at home.

"Australia will continue to support the moratorium on commercial whaling, and oppose any scheme that would allow for the resumption of commercial whaling. The last time the IWC attempted to regulate this industry, it regulated whale species to the brink of extinction.

"Australians recognise our own whaling past, and are proud of our present leadership of campaigns to protect whales. Since 1980, all Australian waters have provided sanctuary for whales. Australia calls on our fellow IWC members likewise to recognise the special status of whales, and work towards the global protection of these magnificent creatures," Dr Kemp said.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia