17 Governments Join Greenpeace call for end to Southern Ocean Whaling

Press release - 17 January, 2006
Greenpeace welcomed today, on its global day of action to save the whales, a call submitted by 17 Governments to the Government of Japan to "cease its lethal scientific research on whales and assure the return of the vessels" from the Southern Ocean whale Sanctuary. (1)

Clobal Day Of Action. Greenpeaceace activists make a symbolic whale tail graveyard in opposition to the Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

The 17 governments comprehensively denounced the so-called scientifichunt as a sham, noting that "Japan is now killing more whales in theAntarctic every year than it killed for scientific research in the 31years prior to the introduction of the moratorium on commercialwhaling." They further express "grave concerns" that the hunt "willundermine the long-term viability" of both fin and humpback whales. Thewhaling fleet plans to take up to 935 minke whales this season, withten endangered fin whales, and eventually increase the annual take offin whales to 50 and adding 50 humpback whales.

"Greenpeace is delighted that so many governments have joined with ustoday in calling for an end to the killing of whales in the SouthernOcean Whale Sanctuary. Our activists from the high seas to the highstreets hope that the Japanese Government will listen to theoverwhelming voice of opposition being expressed around the world andbring the hunt to an immediate end," said Shane Rattenbury the leaderof Greenpeace's expedition in the Southern Ocean.

From the frigid waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to thestreets of Amsterdam, Berlin, Calcutta, Tokyo, Auckland, people arebeing asked to sign up as Ocean Defenders and take action online tohelp stop whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Along with pressure from Governments, corporations also have a role toplay in bringing an end to the hunt. Nissui, is such a company. Japan'ssecond-largest marine products company, Nissui owns one third of KyodoSenpaku, which operates the whaling fleet. People are being urged totell Nissui that "whaling is bad for business" and call on the companyto get Kyodo Senpaku out of whaling.

Two Greenpeace ships, the Esperanza and the Arctic Sunrise, left CapeTown on November 20 in order to defend the whales in the Sanctuary.Since December 21 the ships have been pursuing the whaling fleet andcontinually disrupting the whaling by placing inflatables between theharpoons and whales.

The campaign to defend the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuaryis the first stage in an ambitious new Greenpeace campaign 'Defendingour Oceans'. Over the next year the Esperanza will be Greenpeace's mainplatform to promote a network of marine reserves or parks covering 40%of the world's oceans: places that will be protected from industrialexploitation and destruction, from industrial fishing and hunting, andplaces from which our oceans can begin the process of repair andrecovery

For more information on the campaign to defend the whales go to: http://oceans.greenpeace.org

Other contacts: Shane Rattenbury, Greenpeace Southern Ocean Expedition Leader, on board the Arctic Sunrise, + 873324453810 Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International Communications, +31621296918

VVPR info: Video available from Greenpeace International Video Desk +31653504721Photos available from Greenpeace International Photo Desk +31653819121 or +31653819255

Notes: (1) The signatories to the "Demarche" which was delivered to Japan'sMinistry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry by the Brazilian Ambassador are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.(2) A copy of the press release issued by the UK government can be foundat http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2006/060117c.htm(3) Fifty seven crew and campaigners from 20 countries are on board the two Greenpeace vessels: UK, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Australia, Ghana, Russia, Norway, Denmark, USA, France, Italy, Japan, Ireland, India, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Austria and Argentina.