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Whale sanctuary deserves support.



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C:\WINDOWS\TEMP\020522 Whale Sanctuary GO.doc 22/05/2002 3:26 PM

KELVIN THOMSONMedia Release from the Shadow Minister for Environment & Heritage WHALE SANCTUARY DESERVES SUPPORT

It is regrettable that countries with little legitimate interest in whaling yesterday voted against a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary, despite majority support for the proposal.

The Australian and New Zealand Government’s third presentation of the case for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was unsuccessful yesterday.

Despite achieving the largest majority that the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary has ever had, (24-16 in favour, with 5 abstentions), the motion did not achieve the three quarters majority required to create a sanctuary.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed in 1979 to establish the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary, protecting whales in their breeding and calving grounds.

In 1994, the IWC established the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. This covers all waters surrounding Antarctica and protects many of the world's whales in their feeding grounds.

A South Pacific Whale Sanctuary is needed to protect severely depleted whale populations and allow their recovery, to complement the Southern and Indian Ocean Sanctuaries, to improve the level of protection for migratory whale species and in recognition that whales are worth far more as a protected than as a hunted species.

I support the Government’s efforts to establish the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary and urge that all possible action be taken to strengthen the anti-whaling position, and to make the next vote for a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary a successful one.

To achieve this end, I am considering a proposal to amend the 1946 Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and bring it up to date. The original intent of the Convention was to conserve whale stocks for hunting. One option is for the Convention to broaden its conservation scope to ensure it reflects changing community attitudes and aspirations on whaling, which would strengthen the case for the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary.

For Further Information: Kelvin Thomson MP Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0419 594882 Gavan O’Neill Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0417 118146

Wednesday, 22 May 2002