If reports today are true, Japan is set to announce an increase in its ‘scientific’ kill of whales.

According to the BBC, Japan has submitted a proposal to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), spelling out a significantly increased take of whales well into the future.

The report suggests that in addition to minke whales, Japanese ships will soon be taking humpback and fin whales.

Australia will continue to pursue a permanent global ban on all forms of commercial and scientific whaling.

We know that humpback whales migrate every summer along the east and west coast of Australia and attract many thousands of domestic and international tourists.

I shall be raising this issue with the New Zealand Minister for the Environment in a meeting in Darwin tomorrow.

Australia and New Zealand recently agreed to work together to establish a whale strandings database and marine mammal strandings network.

If these reports of Japan’s proposed whaling increase are true it will significantly raise the stakes at the next meeting of the IWC in Ulsan, Korea in June.