GREENPEACE WHALE WIN?
Suva, Fiji Islands, April 10, 2006 : Palau, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru and the Solomon Islands have been told to stop voting at the International Whaling Commision with Japan so it can continue commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Team Leader Nilesh Goundar made the comments following Global pressure from consumers and green groups resulting in the financial backers of the Japanese whaling industry divesting their shares.
Whaling company Kyodo Senpaku announced last week that current shareholders (which include fishing giant Nissui and four others) would transfer their shares to 'public interest corporations including the Institute of Cetacean Research' – a government agency. Late last Friday Nissui, which owns 50 per cent of New Zealand based Sealord, said it would stop distributing and selling whale meat as well.
Mr Goundar said this decision completely demolishes the commercial foundation of the Japanese whaling industry. Pacific Islands voting with them should take note of a study released this year by the Australian Federal Government which shows whaling for scientific purposes is a sham.
The 10-week study, which covered more than 1 million square kilometres, has been done by the Government's Australian Antarctic Division scientists in the Southern Ocean.
The scientists have carried out extensive whale surveys, including deployment of more than 140 sonobuoys to record whale sounds as well as sightings of whales conducted from the bridge of the research ship, Aurora Australis.
Australia's Environment Minister Ian Campbell said he would be taking the research to the June meeting of the International Whaling Commission.
Mr Campbell says the research has been done without killing whales, to show that the Japanese argument about the need to kill them for science is flawed.
Mr Goundar said this was why it was pertinent to have a South Pacific Whale sanctuary mooted immediately.
“Research by Japanese newspapers shows that less than 4 per cent of Japanese people eat whale meat, and the government has to resort to force feeding whale meat to school children to reduce its huge whale meat stockpile.”
“Japan now faces increasing pressure to stop its annual whale slaughter, given that the 'data' they collect is commercially irrelevant and another 800 or so whale carcasses are about to be added to Japan's 5000ton mountain of frozen whale meat,” concluded Mr Goundar.
In the Pacific Fiji approved the declaration of their Exclusive Economic Zone as a Whale Sanctuary in March 2003. This declaration is in keeping with its international obligations under the Convention on Biodiversity and the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).
Sanctuaries have also been declared in the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, and Australia.
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