26 Feb 2010

End to whaling proposed by Australia

9:27 pm on 26 February 2010

The Australian government wants whaling in the Southern Ocean to be phased out over the next five years and for all whaling to be brought under the control of the International Whaling Commission.

An Australian proposal has been submitted to the IWC which calls for other whaling programmes to be phased out over a reasonable period of time.

Federal environment minister Peter Garrett said a proposal issued by the IWC's working group earlier this week, falls well short of any outcome the Australian government could accept.

The ABC reports the proposal calls for an end to whaling in sanctuaries and closure of a loophole that allows Japan to conduct so-called scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean.

However, it has angered Japan, which again defended its whaling programme.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last week warned Japan it had until November to reduce its whale catch to zero, or face action in the International Court of Justice.

On a visit to Australia at the weekend, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada described the ultimatum as "unfortunate".