Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. VI No. 1 January 1997


Australia Seeking Permanent Ban on Commercial Whaling

by Robbins Barstow, CSI Director Emeritus


The Australian Government has established a National Task Force on Whaling to assist Australia's push for a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.

In announcing the Government's action, Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill stated: "We believe the practice of killing whales is unjustifiable. It is time the international community stopped talking about a 'moratorium' on commercial whaling and instead adopted a permanent international ban on commercial whaling. We will continue to make every effort to gather international support for a permanent ban." (Media Release, 30 September 1996)

The Australian Task Force will be chaired by former Shadow Environment Minister, Mr. Christopher Puplick, and has been requested to present a report by March 31, 1997, so that its findings can be fully considered in developing Australia's negotiating position for the 1997 meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

The Task Force on Whaling has been asked to:

  1. Examine the status of commercial whaling activities internationally and identify areas in which there is a risk of the resumption of commercial activities;
  2. Identify and assess the options that are available to ensure that a permanent international ban on commercial whaling is achieved; and
  3. Recommend the option or options most likely to achieve a permanent international ban on commercial whaling.
The Cetacean Society International has been invited to make a submission to the Task Force. CSI Director Emeritus, Dr. Robbins Barstow, a long-time advocate of establishing a permanent international ban on commercial whaling, is preparing a statement for CSI submission.

Dr. Barstow also is representing CSI at a United States Interagency Governmental Policy Meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 14, 1997. He will press for the United States to follow the lead of Australia and the United Kingdom, which announced a similar position a year ago, in seeking an International Whaling Commission regime of permanent, global protection for whales from consumptive, commercial exploitation.

Meanwhile, CSI members are urged to write to President Clinton, Vice-President Gore, and United States Senators, urging U.S. support for Australia's policy.


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