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Whaling

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which foreign governments were represented at the recent meeting hosted by Japan to encourage more countries to support their position in the International Whaling Commission; and if he will make a statement. (130114)

All 72 members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) were invited to a recent meeting in Tokyo, known as the ‘Normalization’ meeting, organised by the Government of Japan. As far as my Department is aware, the following Governments attended the meeting:

Antigua and Barbuda

Cambodia

Cameroon

People’s Republic of China

Cote D’Ivoire

Denmark

Dominica

Gabon

The Gambia

Grenada

Guatemala

Republic of Guinea

Iceland

Japan

Kiribati

Republic of Korea,

Mali

Republic of Marshall Islands

Mauritania

Mongolia

Nauru

Norway

Oman

Republic of Palau

Russian Federation

Senegal

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Lucia

St. Vincent and The Grenadines

South Africa

Surinam

Switzerland

Togo

Tuvalu.

The UK, along with 26 other anti-whaling countries, respectfully declined the invitation. While we are grateful to the Japanese Government for trying to further discussions on issues of division in the IWC, we believe this initiative serves to further polarise and distract its members from the important conservation work that the IWC undertakes. Furthermore, the IWC is the only body mandated to discuss, at plenipotentiary level, issues relating to the conservation and management of whales. The UK therefore considers that the IWC is the only recognised forum in which to hold intergovernmental discussions on whaling.