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Dolphins: Denmark

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Denmark on the slaughter of dolphins in its territorial waters. (245885)

Under international law, it is primarily for individual countries to regulate the management and killing of small cetaceans (dolphins and porpoises) in their own waters. The British Government do, however, feel very strongly about the welfare issues raised through the hunting of small cetaceans. Furthermore, it recognises that the protection and conservation of such species is very limited, and that they continue to be hunted in many parts of the world, often at unsustainable levels.

On 10 March 2008, my predecessor my hon. Friend for Chatham and Aylesford (Jonathan Shaw), was the keynote speaker at a seminar on commercial whaling held at the Danish Parliament buildings. The aim of the event—which was co-hosted by the British embassy and the Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals—was to raise awareness among the Danish public of the cruel and unsustainable nature of the killing of cetaceans.

DEFRA works within the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to sponsor resolutions that raise the profile of this issue, and to encourage the IWC to adopt a strong position in favour of the protection of small cetaceans.

Please be assured that we will continue to raise these issues with Denmark directly, and in the IWC, at every appropriate opportunity.