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The Australian Government is committed to the protection of whales and dolphins and remains staunchly opposed to all forms of commercial whaling.

We were very disappointed by Japan’s decision to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean, under its new plan; NEWREP-A, this summer.

We believe that all information necessary for the conservation of whales can be obtained using non-lethal research methods and we welcomed the decision of the International Court of Justice in March 2014 that found that Japan’s former whaling program in the Southern Ocean (known as JARPA II) was not for purposes of scientific research and ordered that it cease.

Japan’s recent declaration to the International Court of Justice appears intended to exclude Japan’s new whaling program from the court’s jurisdiction.  This declaration does not alter the legal status of the 2014 judgement on whaling in the Antarctic, nor does it diminish in any way Japan’s obligations to comply with the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

The government considers the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to be the appropriate forum to address issues relating to whales and whaling.  It is Australia’s view, and that of many other countries, that the IWC has not completed its review of Japan’s new whaling program and that until this process is complete Japan should refrain from its activities.  The commission will consider the scientific committee’s advice on Japan’s new plan at its next meeting in Slovenia in late 2016.

We will continue to work with the IWC to ensure that whales in the Southern Ocean are protected.

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