australia must commit to whale and dolphin conservation
On World Oceans Day, Humane Society International (HSI) is calling on all parties in the Federal Election to ensure they have policies in place to help efforts to conserve whales and dolphins both internationally and domestically.
Australia has long been a nation of whale lovers, and polls consistently show public opposition to whaling. HSI is therefore asking all parties during this election campaign to commit to the strongest possible policies to ensure that Australia’s leading role in advocating for whale conservation is maintained.
HSI’s Senior Program Manager Alexia Wellbelove said today, “It is vital that Australia continues to take a strong and leading role in international whaling negotiations, in particular promoting the conservation agenda. The successful court case in the International Court of Justice set an important precedent and anti-whaling countries continue to look to Australia for leadership in conservation matters. Australia must ensure it continues to take a leadership role and drive the conservation agenda at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It is essential that Australia continues to investigate all possible legal avenues available to end whaling.”
“In addition, Australia must take every opportunity to voice its displeasure at Japan’s ongoing whaling program in the Southern Ocean and beyond. Diplomatic efforts to end whaling must extend beyond the IWC, and include diplomatic approaches to Japan at the highest level. The new Government must also commit to sending a vessel to monitor any future whaling activities in the Southern Ocean to gain further information for possible legal cases,” continued Ms Wellbelove.
In 2015 the Federal Court handed Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha the largest ever contempt of court fine of $1 million under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 following HSI’s successful legal case. HSI is urging the Commonwealth Government to support action to retrieve, through international or domestic law, that debt from Kyodo.
“Domestically it is essential that greater efforts are made to reduce the impacts of fishing on dolphin populations – with many being unnecessarily caught and killed in fishing operations. HSI has been working to help reduce the impacts of fishing on dolphin populations as a result of Commonwealth and State fisheries but believes greater efforts must be made. After all no one wants a side of dolphin with their fish and chips,” continued Ms Wellbelove.
“Finally it is essential that the Government commit to ensuring that whale research is adequately funded and that Australia can continue to contribute to global research efforts, such as the Southern Ocean Research Partnership,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.