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International Whaling Commission

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

8. What his most recent assessment is of progress made by the small working group on the future of the International Whaling Commission. (296307)

At the IWC’s 2009 annual meeting, which I attended, it was agreed that the small working group would continue work on the future of the IWC for another year. The support group, of which the UK is not a member, appointed to assist the small working group was unable to complete discussions on possible reform packages in October, but we hope to complete discussions before the small working group in March next year.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Has he had any discussions with the new Japanese Government regarding the Japanese attitude towards whales?

On 20 October, British officials met the Japanese Government and expressed continued concern about Japanese dolphin hunts, among other things. I wrote personally to the Japanese Fisheries Minister last week on a range of issues, including whaling, and expressed the British public’s concern about the hunting of dolphins, urging Japan to prohibit the killing and capture of dolphins and other small cetaceans. We also welcome the reports that Taiji in Japan, which is at the centre of “The Cove”—the file and the film—is trialling a no-kill bottlenose dolphin policy.