30 May 2006

Australia to lobby central Pacific countries to back whaling ban

1:10 pm on 30 May 2006

Australia's Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, heads to Kiribati tomorrow for talks with officials on how to persuade the International Whaling Commission to ban whaling.

Senator Campbell, who will also visit the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, says the IWC vote in June is crunch time for the future of whales, which should be protected through a global moratorium on commercial whaling and an end to so-called scientific whaling.

The minister says it is vital that Australia talks through with its Pacific neighbours the very real implications of a return to commercial whaling, particularly as the IWC pro-whaling bloc continues to grow stronger.

It is estimated nearly two million whales have been killed in the southern oceans since the start of industrial whaling in 1904.