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Brussels, 20 November 2007

European Commission concerned over Japanese whale hunting plans

The European Commission is deeply concerned by Japan's plans to kill up to 1000 minke, fin and humpback whales in a South Pacific whale hunt that will run until mid-April 2008. The Commission emphasises that there is no need to use lethal means to obtain scientific information about whales, and that adequate data for management purposes can be obtained using non-lethal techniques.

Japan’s scientific whaling undermines international efforts to conserve and protect whales, and the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has repeatedly adopted resolutions urging Japan to refrain from lethal scientific whaling on these grounds.

Japan's decision is all the more alarming as fin and humpback whales are classified as "endangered" and "vulnerable" species on the Red List of Threatened Species of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). There is therefore a serious risk that the Japanese programme will undermine the long-term viability of these species in the Southern Ocean.

The European Commission urges Japan to reconsider its decision and stop the hunt. The Commission considers it imperative that the International Community finds a comprehensive solution to whaling, undertaken under whatever pretext, and calls upon the members of the International Whaling Commission to fully adhere to the word and spirit of the whaling moratorium.

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