Sth Pacific whale sanctuary rejected

His comments come after Australia and New Zealand failed in their push to have the International Whaling Commission (IWC) establish a new whaling sanctuary in the South Pacific.

Mr Campbell lashed out at Japan and Iceland for proposing an increase in the number of whales the two countries kill each year in the name of scientific research.

“Killing whales in the name of science is an affront to science. It is not science – it is commercial slaughter,” the Environment Minister said in a statement.

A Norwegian plan for the reintroduction of regulated commercial whaling as a way of reducing the overall whale catch also came in for strong criticism.

Japan, Norway and Iceland currently kill around 1,400 various species of whale each year under a number of clauses exempting them from the existing 18-year-old worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling.

In an unprecedented move, the United States has co-sponsored a resolution with Japan and Iceland that supports Denmark’s bid to bring in a plan to manage commercial whale hunting after a decade-long IWC stand-off.

Animal rights activists and anti-whaling nations have been outraged.

“This is the most serious situation we have faced since the moratorium” on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986, said Patricia Forkan of US-based Humane Society International.

Ms Forkan told journalists the composition of the sponsors made it likely the resolution would be passed on the meeting’s final day on July 22, needing only a simple majority of the 57-member organisation.

At present there are two whaling sanctuaries operating worldwide, one in the Indian Ocean and a second in the Southern Ocean.

An attempt by Japan to close the Southern Ocean sanctuary failed to win enough support at the IWC summit in Sorrento, Italy.

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