Greenpeace calls for international rejection of Japanese plans to increase whale kill

Press release - 12 April, 2005
Plans by the Government of Japan to 'sharply' increase its take of minke whales and to resume catching both fin and humpback whales under the guise of scientific research, are a deadly slap in the face for the international community, making a mockery of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and international efforts to control whaling, Greenpeace warned today.

The international environmental organisation called upon anti-whalingnations such as the US, the UK, Australia and Brazil to redouble theirefforts to protect whales and to once and for all close the 'scientificwhaling' loophole.

According to today's wire reports, a secret proposal from Japan, whichhas been submitted for consideration at the IWC meeting beginning onMay 27 in Ulsan, Korea, will see  new 'scientific' quotas with adoubling of the current minke whale take of 440 in the Antarctic inaddition to a catch of some 10 humpback and fin whales.

"The Japanese Government should withdraw this outrageous proposalimmediately," said John Frizell of Greenpeace International. "For toolong the 'scientific' loophole has provided commercial whalers with a'fig leaf' of respectability. The IWC should move to end the scandal ofscientific whaling and end the scientific exemption."

"The submission to the IWC by Japan's Fisheries Agency is designated'in confidence', but, since when was the science of environmentalprotection and nature conservation best served by secrecy? This is asimple case of publish and be dammed," added Frizell.

Over the last month the Greenpeace flagship has been in Korean watersto highlight another flaw in the international regime banning thehunting of whales. In 2003 the Korean fishing fleet 'accidentally'netted 97 whales, which were legally traded and processed for domesticconsumption. Korean Government statistics show that around a hundredtimes more whales are "accidentally" caught in Korea than in countriesthat do not have a domestic whale meat market. Scientists believe thateven the most populous whale species in Korean waters, minke whales,are in serious decline because of this trade.  

As IWC preparations begin in Ulsan, Greenpeace, along with the KoreanFederation for the Environment Movement (KFEM), have exposed plans bythe South Korean government to build a whale and dolphin meatprocessing factory there. A protest camp, or 'Whale Embassy', at theproposed whale meat factory site has been established.

Other contacts: Jim Wickens, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner, currently in Korea on +82 (0)10 2233 0760 John Frizell, Greenpeace International, +44 1273 47 6839

VVPR info: Images availableJohn Novis, Greenpeace International picture desk on +31 6538 19121Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace International video desk on +31 (0) 646 19 7322