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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
5 December 2006
As Japan's whaling fleet heads south to begin its annual whale slaughter, Australian scientists are heading to Japan to participate in a formal International Whaling Commission (IWC) review of Japan's first 18 year scientific whaling programme in the Southern Ocean (JARPA).
Australian scientists have been at the forefront of criticisms of Japan's scientific whaling programme.
The formal IWC review by the Scientific Committee in Tokyo this week is assessing whether JARPA provided information necessary for the management of whale populations and whether this information could have been gained through non-lethal research techniques.
Dr Nick Gales of the Australian Government Antarctic Division will participate in the review. Dr Gales and other authors have already published in the prestigious science journal Nature that scientific whaling was, and still is unnecessary for the management of whales in the Southern Ocean, and that management information can be collected using non-lethal research techniques.
Australia's Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said a recent Australian survey of the Southern Ocean by the Australian Government Antarctic Division had collected much of the information Japan says they are seeking on the Antarctic ecosystem.
"It's clear beyond doubt there is no legitimate rationale for killing whales in the name of science," Senator Campbell said.
"JARPA, which ended in 2005, killed 6500 Antarctic minke whales over the 18 year programme for absolutely no scientific gain.
"Now we have JARPA II which has so far killed 853 minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales in the Southern Ocean," Senator Campbell said.
"The Japanese Antarctic whaling fleet is expected to kill 935 minke and 10 fins this year.
"The humpback whales, which Australians particularly identify so strongly with, will be included on its hit-list next year."
Senator Campbell said the results of the IWC Scientific Committee review will be submitted to the IWC at its next annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska in May 2007.
Japan is not obliged to adhere to recommendations arising from the review.
Media Contact: Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902