Australia participated in a high-level international delegation this week to urge the Japanese Government to cease its whaling activities.

Australia joined forces with 16 other countries to express strong opposition to Japan’s lethal scientific whaling program.

Other countries participating in the two diplomatic representations — called ‘demarches’ — included Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The delegation, led by Brazil, met with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese Fisheries Agency to denounce Japan’s Whale Research Program (JARPA II).

Japan plans to take 935 minke whales this year — more than double its previous intake. It will also take 10 fin whales this year, with plans for 50 fin and humpback whales each year.

Australia remains committed to ending whaling under the guise of scientific research and will continue to work tirelessly with other pro-conservation countries in the lead up to the 58th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in June.

Australia led a demarche of 15 countries last year to raise concerns directly with the Japanese Government about its proposed increased whale catch in Antarctic waters.

Last year Australia, together with Spain and twelve Latin American and Southern Hemisphere countries, also signed a declaration condemning scientific whaling. The six point declaration supports continuing the current moratorium on whaling, an end to special permit whaling for ‘so-called’ scientific purposes and scientific research by only non-lethal means.