The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, has called for consumers of whale meat to reject new marketing efforts by whaling nations to encourage greater consumption of whale meat.

“The recent drop in demand for whale meat has prompted new efforts to encourage consumers to eat whale meat,” Senator Campbell said.

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research recently announced a new marketing company that will attempt to offload its frozen whale meat stockpile.

Whaling for human consumption is still undertaken by countries such as Japan, Norway and Iceland.

While Iceland and Japan conduct whaling in the name of ‘science', Norway simply defies the global ban on commercial whaling.

Senator Campbell said that demand for whale meat, particularly in Japan, appeared to be steadily declining despite increasing levels of ‘scientific’ whaling activities.

“As the whale meat stockpile reaches new heights, and demand for whale meat appears to be slowing, a new campaign has emerged to try to convince consumers to eat more whale meat.

“This burgeoning stockpile now includes the meat from 853 minke whales and 10 endangered fin whales, taken as part of Japan’s 2005–06 Antarctic scientific whaling programme that recently ended.

“This marketing exercise only underscores the true purpose of so-called ‘scientific’ whaling.”

“I have recently written to the countries of Norway, Japan and Iceland to bring to their attention a major marine science programme recently completed by Australia in the Southern Ocean. This work supports the research needs of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for this region and confirms that there is no justification for scientific whaling.

“Australia, together with its pro-conservation allies including New Zealand and the United Kingdom, want to see an end to whaling under the guise of science, and the ban on commercial whaling continued and will be pushing strongly for this at the next IWC meeting in June.

“Japan, Iceland and Norway will be leading a campaign with other pro-whaling nations to strengthen scientific whaling and resume commercial whaling and we will be fighting very hard to stop this from happening.