Endangered whales to be hunted if whaling proposal gets go ahead

Feature story - April 23, 2010
Greenpeace supporters have set up a whale graveyard in front of the Beehive in reaction to further details released today of a proposal which could legitimise commercial whaling and allow hunting to continue in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Greenpeace supporters set up a whale graveyard in front of the Beehive in reaction to further details released today of a proposal which could legitimise commercial whaling and allow hunting to continue in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The proposal is the basis for negotiation between now and the next International Whaling Commission (IWC) in June.

Details released this morning reveal that although the proposal makes a reduction to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary it includes a quota for hunting endangered fin whales. There is no fixed date for an end to the hunting in the sanctuary and no agreement on maintaining international trade restrictions. Over the 10 years that this proposal will run there is no reduction in the quotas in the northern hemisphere.

Nearly 200 people have gathered on parliament grounds carrying placards in the shape of whale tails, stamped with the letters R.I.P?, symbolising what is at stake.

"Our Government has a choice. Support a proposal that could result in a real whale graveyard or fight for a proposal which protects the future of whales and upholds New Zealand's long tradition of whale conservation," said Greenpeace New Zealand Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid.

"Greenpeace is campaigning for an end to commercial whaling including all whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

"New Zealand now has an opportunity to break the deadlock in the IWC but the challenge will be to ensure that any final agreement guarantees a safe future for whales.

"IWC members need to fully commit to the negotiations to get the deal the whales need, or else this could be remembered as the moment we agreed to return to commercial whaling and the start of the whales' demise.

The IWC should also be investigating allegations of major corruption in the Japanese Government funded whaling programme, made by two Greenpeace activists currently on trial in Japan, rather than rewarding Japan for bending the rules of the Commission in order to continue whaling.

Thousands of New Zealanders are calling on the Government to reject any proposal which does not ensure the long term protection for whales, including an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean, by signing petitions promoted by Greenpeace, World Society for Protection of Animals, Forest and Bird, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Project Jonah.(2)

The petitions will be presented to the Government during a public rally outside parliament on June 2 at 12.30pm.

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