Japan to exit from International Whaling Commission and cease Southern Ocean whaling

  • Joint media release
26 December 2018

The Australian Government is extremely disappointed that Japan has announced that it will withdraw from the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and its decision-making body, the International Whaling Commission, and resume commercial whaling.

The International Whaling Commission plays a crucial role in international cooperation on whale conservation. The Commission is the pre-eminent global body responsible for the conservation and management of whales and leads international efforts to tackle the growing range of threats to whales globally, including by-catch, ship strikes, entanglement, noise, and whaling.

Their decision to withdraw is regrettable and Australia urges Japan to return to the Convention and Commission as a matter of priority.

Australia remains resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called 'scientific' whaling. We will continue to work within the Commission to uphold the global moratorium on commercial whaling.

We acknowledge Japan's commitment to continue to cooperate with the Commission as an observer. This will provide an avenue for Australia and other members of the Commission to continue to engage with Japan on whaling.

The Australian Government welcomes Japan's announcement that it will stop whaling in the Southern Ocean as of next summer. This means that the International Whaling Commission's vast Southern Ocean Sanctuary, and our own Australian Whale Sanctuary, will finally be true sanctuaries for all whales.

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