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Greens condemn Australia's vote of support for an increased humpback whale hunting quota

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Greens condemn Australia’s vote of support for an increased humpback whale hunting quota for St Vincent’s and the Grenadines

The Australian Greens have today called on the Environment Minister, Tony Burke, to explain his decision to vote in support of allowing St Vincent’s and the Grenadines to increase their take humpback whales at the recent International Whaling Committee meeting in Panama.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Spokesperson for Marine and Fisheries, said today, “Supporting an increase in the St Vincent’s and the Grenadines's whaling quota is essentially supporting the slaughter of twenty-four Humpback Whales including the incidental killing of mothers and calves.

Minister Burke attended the International Whaling Committee meeting in Panama last month and voted to support Aboriginal subsistence whaling catch limits.

“From a review of the proceedings of that meeting, it has become clear that the Minister has supported more than just subsistence whaling by aboriginal populations, and has essentially allowed another region to sneak in an increase to its quota, which essentially allows it to expand unsustainable and unnecessary whaling practises that have no cultural or subsistence gro unds to justify them.

“I fear that this will set a dangerous precedent that will not only weaken the International Whaling Commission but also makes a mockery of genuine aboriginal whaling practises.

“While I recognise that while on the international stage, Australia has to respect the complexities of aboriginal subsistence hunting, bundling the St Vincent’s quota in with other adjustments to the catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling was inappropriate and Australia should have taken a stronger stand on this issue.

“I have written to Minister Burke to seek an explanation as to why Australia didn’t take the opportunity to abstain from voting for the package of the three proposals, or choose to move for an amendment to have the package un-bundled, and then vote for each part separately,” Senator Siewert concluded.

Media Contact Jess McColl 0422 912 098