27 May 2005

Pacific countries urged to oppose Japan's whale-hunting expansion plans

4:09 pm on 27 May 2005

Pacific countries are being urged to voice opposition to Japan's proposal to start killing humpback and fin whales as part of its so-called scientific research program.

Japan will table the proposal at the International Whaling Commission meeting in South Korea next month, but there are signs countries like Australia and New Zealand will oppose the move.

However, Scott Baker, the associate professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Auckland's Faculty of Science, says under international conventions, there's no obligation for Japan to adhere to any advice not to hunt more whales.

He says hunting the humpback and fin whales will threaten the recovery of the whale stocks throughout the pacific.

"I think the Pacific Island nations can bring considerable pressure. They're a numerous group of nations and they all have a stake in this. I mean, these are their whales. If they contact their governments and let them know that's their feeling I think that'll have an influence, because Japan is courting these governments, and they're not above influence in that regard."

Scott Baker from the University of Auckland's Faculty of Science.