Media Release Whale Protection

Japan pushes to end global ban on whaling as IWC meeting begins

September 7, 2018

When the 67th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) begins in Brazil on Monday 10 September the Japanese Government will be pushing for an end to the global moratorium on whaling, and for new commercial whaling quotas to be established by 2020.

“Whaling is a cruel, outdated and unnecessary industry that belongs in the past. It is outrageous that Japan is urging the IWC to lift the ban on commercial whaling and drag us back to the bad old days of global whaling”, said Tooni Mahto Campaigns Manager with the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“Whales face a greater number of threats today that at any stage in their past. Climate change, entanglement in fishing nets, plastic pollution, underwater noise and ship strikes threaten our ocean giants.

“Our whales need help, not harpoons.”

Under the Government of Japan’s ‘Way Forward’ proposal to reform the IWC, Japan is also pushing for changes to the IWC’s voting rules so that decisions like the setting of whaling quotas can be made by a simple majority, rather than the current three quarters majority.

“Japan doesn’t like the decisions the IWC has been making so they’re trying to change the rules to make it easier to hunt whales. This isn’t the way forwards it is the way backwards.

“The Australian Government is speaking out against Japan’s plans but many countries have been deafeningly silent, and silence will spell the end for the 30 year ban on commercial whaling.

“Australia has been a global leader in whale conservation since the Fraser government banned whaling in 1979. Australia took and won the landmark legal case against Japan in 2014. Australia must once again stand tallest for the whales when the IWC meets in Brazil.

“Australia must lead the charge to save the ban on whaling. Japan must not succeed in changing the voting rules or bringing the return of commercial whaling.”

The IWC meeting will also be considering important measures for strengthening whale conservation.

“We need to protect whales now more than ever. The IWC needs to be the champion of and driving force behind whale conservation.

“This meeting must see the creation of a new global whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic. This meeting must see decisive action for critically endangered species and to tackle growing threats like bycatch and entanglement in ghost nets,” concluded Mahto.

AMCS will be attending the meeting. The 87 nation IWC meets every two years. The full Commission meeting takes place in Florianopolis, Brazil 10-14 September.

Media contact:

Shane Cucow, AMCS Senior Communications Officer 0423 544 979 or 07 3846 6777