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Whales: Nature Conservation

Volume 473: debated on Friday 14 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 280W, on whales: nature conservation, when he will hold the meeting of like-minded anti-whaling countries; whether there will be any Ministers present; and if he will make a statement; (193206)

(2) whether he has written to any other countries to encourage them to join the International Whaling Commission; and if he will make a statement.

The UK commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) hosted a meeting of like-minded anti-whaling countries immediately prior to the inter-sessional meeting of the IWC on 5 March 2008 in Heathrow, London. There were no Ministers present. However, I do plan to attend the annual IWC meeting in Chile in June this year.

I have not yet written to any countries on the issue of membership. However, as stated in previous responses to questions from the hon. Member, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Hilary Benn) has recently written to 18 countries, encouraging them to join the IWC for the greater protection of whales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what his objective is for the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held on 6 to 8 March 2008; and if he will make a statement; (193207)

(2) which countries are attending the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held on 6 to 8 March 2008;

(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) agenda and (b) minutes of the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission, of 6 to 8 March 2008; and if he will make a statement.

The UK’s policy on whaling did not change either in the build up to, or during the course of, the inter-sessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The UK continues to support the IWC Moratorium on commercial whaling and opposes all forms of whaling, other than limited whaling operations by indigenous people for subsistence purposes, to meet a defined and substantiated need.

The agenda from the meeting, the list of its attendees and the statements it generated are all currently available on the IWC website, with a full report from the chair to follow in due course.