Local government areas with sister city relationships with Japan have been urged to use their friendly relationships to convey community concern about the Japanese Fishing Agency’s push to raise its so-called “scientific whaling quota”.

Environment and Heritage Minister Senator Ian Campbell said Japan’s hopes to increase its take of minke whales from 440 to 850 a year and to add 50 each of humpback and fin whales had appalled Australians, where the endangered humpback and other species were a regular feature of our waters on their annual migratory paths along our coastlines.

Senator Campbell said that while he was pursuing the issue on behalf of the Australian Government with like-minded members of the International Whaling Commission to oppose Japan’s bid, local communities could also play a part.

“It would be very helpful to our cause against the slaughter of whales if local authorities with sister-city ties were to relay the concerns of their communities to their counterparts in Japan,” he said

“It is an entirely appropriate thing for Australians to do to tell the Japanese that while we are very friendly with them, good friends can disagree and that the slaughter of whales is something that this generation should put an end to.”

Senator Campbell repeated his commitment to publish the voting records of IWC nations to provide transparency to the process.

“It is important that the world knows how some nations are voting in support of the slaughter of whales so those nations can feel the impact of public opinion and public censure,” he said.

“This so-called scientific kill is simply exploitation and a practice that does not belong in the 21st century in a world where most people would like to see whales conserved, not chopped up and put on dinner tables.”

The Australian Sister Cities Association lists local government authorities with sister-city relationships with Japan.