Australia to oppose lift on whaling ban

Julie Bishop says Australia remains steadfastly against all commercial and 'scientific' whaling.
Julie Bishop says Australia remains steadfastly against all commercial and 'scientific' whaling.

Australia has vowed to vehemently oppose a Japanese push to relax a global ban on commercial whaling, calling on like-minded nations to help block the proposal.

The Japan Fisheries Agency wants a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in September to allow the capture of some "abundant" whale species.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia remained steadfastly against all forms of commercial and so-called scientific whaling and would continue to push for stronger protections against the practice.

Ms Bishop vowed to fight any attempts to undermine the 30-year moratorium through changes to voting regimes or the establishment of catch limits.

"Australia has worked tirelessly to see an end to commercial whaling," Ms Bishop said on Thursday in a joint statement with Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg.

"The science is clear, you do not need to kill whales in order to study them."

Australia has provided funding to support the IWC's Southern Ocean Research Partnership, to show whales do not need to be killed in order to study them.

The government also backed the International Court of Justice's 2014 finding that Japan's Southern Ocean whaling program was not for purposes of scientific research.

And efforts are under way to ensure Japan's whaling programs in the North Pacific and Southern Ocean are subjected to greater scrutiny.

Australian Associated Press