From: Associated Press
Published May 24, 2005 12:00 AM

Australia Working to Prevent Resumption of Commercial Whaling

SYDNEY, Australia — Australian officials are working to prevent a resumption of commercial whaling and halt Japan's scientific research whaling, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday.

Even Prime Minister John Howard has joined the push, sending a letter to his Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, saying Australia believes there is no basis for killing whales.

"What the prime minister has demonstrated is that we are prepared to raise this at levels that it's never been raised before," Environment Minister Ian Campbell told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "We're working internationally, we're working bilaterally. We're very, very keen to see firstly, no reopening of commercial whaling, and very importantly, no scientific whaling in the future."

The International Whaling Commission will begin meeting on May 27 in Ulsan, South Korea, and Japan will use the session to push for a widening of its scientific whale hunt.

The commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 and Japan's scientific hunt, in which hundreds of whales are killed each year, is widely regarded as a way of circumventing the moratorium.

Whaling opponents fear that pro-whaling countries like Japan and Norway may have a voting majority at the commission for the first time since the 1986 whaling ban was imposed.

New Zealand's IWC commissioner, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, warned in March that "the likelihood is that in the next few years efforts to rescind the moratorium will succeed."

Source: Associated Press

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