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Australia condemns Japan for whaling in Southern Ocean.

Australia condemns Japan's decision to renew its Southern Ocean whaling program and will continue to pressure the Japanese government to abandon lethal "scientific whaling," Environment Minister Robert Hill said Thursday.

"Japanese vessels are moving into the Southern Ocean to commence another whale kill, despite strong international support for the protection of whales in the Southern Ocean," Hill said in a statement.

He said Australia would step up its opposition to whaling and continue to promote increased protection for whales ahead of next June's meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the body charged with managing the global whale population, in Adelaide, South Australia.

A Japanese whaling fleet departed for the Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean in early November to catch 440 minke whales as part of an annual whale catch Japan says is for scientific purposes. The same program last year saw 389 whales killed.

According to the Fisheries Agency of Japan, the whale research program is necessary to "clarify stock structure, migrating patterns and feeding ecology of minke whales."

But Hill said the whale kill was not necessary for scientific purposes and simply undermined the intent of the IWC's moratorium on commercial whaling.

"The information sought from the so-called scientific whaling program can be obtained using non-lethal means," he said. The Southern Ocean was declared a whale sanctuary by the IWC in 1994.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Dec 6, 1999
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