LAST_UPDATESun, 22 Jul 2018 10am

Australia To Back NZ Anti-Whaling Push

WhaleWhaleSYDNEY -- Australia will back New Zealand's bid to have the International Whaling Commission adopt a court ruling banning Japan's scientific whaling program.

This week's IWC meeting in Slovenia will be its first since the International Court of Justice ruled in March that Japan's annual Antarctic whale hunt was for commercial, not scientific purposes, and therefore illegal.

Japan cancelled its 2014/15 season but is expected to present a new plan that meets the ICJ's scientific requirements so it can resume whaling.

New Zealand has put forward a resolution to incorporate the ICJ's decision into the IWC's rules.

Australia will support the resolution, Environment Minister Greg Hunt says.

"Australia will vote to make sure there's a permanent ban on whaling and to uphold the International Court of Justice decision," Mr Hunt told the ABC.

"This time we come armed with an ICJ decision and our hope and our belief is this is the moment when the world can respectfully work to end the practice of commercial whaling or scientific whaling, which has been justified whereas in reality it's simply commercial whaling by another name."

A bid for Greenland's subsistence whaling quota to be enlarged will also be controversial.

"We are dealing with some contentious issues and the positions of the countries at the meeting remain far apart," said Ryan Wulff, deputy US commissioner to the IWC, AFP reported.

The IWC said it had moved "complex" issues to the top of the agenda to "allow maximum time for the 88 member governments to find ways of reaching consensus".

Commercial whaling is banned under a 1986 IWC moratorium, which has resulted in a rebound of many species that were hunted to near-extinction well into the 20th century.

SOURCE --  AU News