ENVIRONMENT - Whale meat again

ENVIRONMENT - Whale meat again

With the Japanese whaling fleet less than a week away from reaching its Antarctic whaling grounds, the Government of Japan has revealed it will not drop its confrontational whaling policy, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said.

AMCS continued there was hope that Japan's new centre-left Government would review their position on whaling, a stance that is deeply controversial and deeply damaging to Japan's international reputation, however, speaking yesterday, Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada stated his government has no intention of stopping whaling.

"Despite the change of Government it's a case of business as usual and whale meat again for Japan. With the first whale likely to be killed within a week, the Australian Government must step up action to challenge the sham that allows hundreds of whales to be killed under the guise of 'research'," said Darren Kindleysides, director of AMCS.

According to AMCS, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to meet with his Japanese counterpart Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo next week.

"When they meet next week our Prime Minister must demand his Japanese counterpart brings the whaling fleet home immediately. Kevin Rudd must leave PM Hatoyama in no doubt that Australia is considering legal action against Japan if they do not rethink their so-called scientific whaling program," he continued.

AMCS said international lawyers have demonstrated that Japan's 'scientific' whaling breaks several international laws and treaties and that there is a case for Japan to answer if a country were to challenge them through the international courts.

"Tellingly, Japan's Foreign Minister cited cultural reasons to justify their whaling program that will hunt almost 1000 Antarctic whales over the next four months. It is refreshing to hear the pretence of 'research' lifted. It is clear this is commercial whaling no matter what it is called," concluded Kindleysides.

AMCS said Japan's whalers left port heading south on November 18 and while the Government of Japan has now postponed plans to kill humpback whales this season for the first time in four decades, they will target almost 935 minke and 50 fin whales. In previous years AMCS says it has taken the whaling fleet three to four weeks after leaving port to reach their whaling grounds in the Southern Ocean south of Australia, meaning the first whale is likely to be killed within the coming week.

For more information contat
Darren Kindleysides, AMCS director:
phone 0422 396 077