Top level Government leadership needed on whaling

Whale image

The moratorium on commercial whaling is under threat from Japan and other pro-whaling countries

Jo Swinson has called for intervention at the highest levels of Government to prevent a return to commercial whaling.

Jo led a debate in Parliament yesterday on international whaling, coinciding with the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), currently taking place in Anchorage, Alaska. A growing number of countries, led by Japan, are seeking to lift the ban on commercial whaling that has been in place since 1986.

Commenting after the debate, Jo said:

“Japan is pushing hard for a return to commercial whaling. Through methods amounting to bribery, the Japanese have persuaded a number of small or landlocked countries with no history of whaling whatsoever to support their agenda.

“The Department for the Environment has been doing good work, but British efforts to lead anti-whaling nations have, at the highest level of Government, been found wanting. The Prime Minister failed to even mention whaling when he met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan recently, while Margaret Beckett has said she has no intention of addressing the issue in her role as Foreign Secretary.

“We simply cannot allow a return to the days before the ban on commercial whaling, when several species of whale were driven nearly to the point of extinction. The pro-whaling agenda is being led from the highest levels of government in other countries. Britain must match this level of commitment as it leads the international community against whaling.”

At last year’s IWC meeting, a majority of member countries voted narrowly in favour of a resumption of commercial whaling. However, the vote did not achieve the 75% majority required to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling.

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