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Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to change international law to prevent whaling being undertaken under the guise of scientific research. (171768)

The UK takes every appropriate opportunity to condemn all lethal whaling operations carried out under the guise of ‘scientific’ research. Japan carries out this research legally under the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), the parent treaty of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The UK believes the IWC is the internationally recognised body for the management and conservation of whale stocks and any amendment to the ICRW would need to be ratified by all parties. The UK sees no advantage in pressing for the termination or renegotiation of the 1948 International Whaling Convention, as this is the legal instrument by which a general moratorium on commercial whaling has been upheld since 1986. In addition, Japan is unlikely to sign up to a new convention that restricts her current ‘scientific’ whaling.