The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, have urged the newest member of the International Whaling Commission, Kiribati, to follow Australia’s lead in pursuing a permanent international ban on whaling for commercial purposes.

At a time when the International Whaling Commission is coming under increasing pressure from pro-whaling nations for the resumption of commercial whaling, we strongly urge Kiribati to support Australia’s stand.

The practice of whaling over many years has contributed to the serious depletion of many species.

Whaling practices are cruel, whales take a long time to die and Australia believes that animal welfare and whale killing methods should be given priority consideration.

As Pacific neighbours, Kiribati and Australia have strong regional Ties and have worked together on a range of regional reform issues. We would hope to work together to strengthen the resolve of the IWC to ban commercial whaling throughout the world.

We will encourage Kiribati to support Australia’s position for a permanent international ban on commercial whaling and the worldwide protection of all cetaceans.

Australia looks forward to working with Kiribati within the IWC to ensure the global conservation of whales and to facilitate the recovery of whale populations.

Kiribati will now be eligible to vote on a range of matters, including the conservation and management of whale populations at the 57th annual meeting of the IWC in Ulsan, Korea from June 20 to 24.