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21 March 2007

Barrett calls for urgent Government action on whaling

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, has today challenged the Government to take urgent action to prevent a disastrous change in whaling regulations that could devastate many whale species.

With just over a month to go before a crucial International Whaling Commission meeting in Alaska at which pro Whaling nations such as Norway and Japan will push for a major relaxation of the current rules which protect Whales.

Pro-whaling countries won a key vote at last year’s International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting by one vote amid accusations that Japan had used overseas aid deals with a number of poorer African and Caribbean nations to buy support for their position. Hunting of Whales has been stepped up in recent months with this years catch on target to be the highest for 20 years.

Mr Barrett has today launched moves in parliament calling on the Government to take an active role in ensuring that there is no relaxation of whaling laws at this years meeting.

John Barrett, who is honorary vice president of the Scottish SPCA said:

“In recent years the International Whaling Commission (ICW) has made real strides towards safeguarding whale populations. It is absolutely vital that the Japanese and other pro-whaling representatives are not allowed to hijack proceedings.

"Any move to relax the rules would be potentially disastrous for whale populations worldwide with many species still at biologically unsustainable levels.

“None of the pro-whaling nations have growing markets for the meat, young Japanese, Icelanders and Norwegians don't eat it and consumption is falling. We cannot allow nations to hide begin the defence of ‘tradition’ to excuse a practice that is both inhumane, and unnecessary.

“Judging by the letters and emails I have received from constituents, many people are as appalled as I am at the prospect of another open-season on whale hunting.

“I will keep up the pressure on Government ministers to do all they can to ensure that pro-whaling nations are not allowed to undo all the good work done by the ICW in recent years.”


Notes

John Barrett today tabled the following Early Day Motion

That this house is concerned at current moves by pro-whaling nations to overturn a ban on commercial whaling; notes that population levels of certain whale species worldwide remain at biologically unsustainable levels; deplores the tactics used by the Japanese government to gain support for the removal of the ban from Caribbean and African nations through the use of aid; notes that no pro-whaling nations have sustainable markets for the meat, and consumption is falling; calls on the government to work closely with other international partners to oppose any moves to return to commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission meeting on 28th May in Alaska.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) backed an eventual return to commercial whaling by just one vote on 19th June, 2006

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986. Whaling nations are currently allowed to catch a limited number of whales for scientific purposes. Lifting the ban would require a favourable vote by 75% of the IWC.

The ICW’s purpose is to regulate commercial; whaling after it became obvious that some species where being depleted to the verge of extinction. Norway made a formal objection to the ban and has continued to hunt, though catching radically fewer numbers than a century ago. Japan hunt under an ICW ruling which allows nations to catch Whales for “scientific research”.

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.