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22 December 2009 - Commentary available on whaling and shark nets over Christmas      

Commentary available on whaling and shark nets over Christmas

23rd December 2009                                              

This Christmas, Japanese whalers will be celebrating by hunting endangered whales in the Southern Ocean, in breach of the HSI obtained federal court order. HSI is encouraged by recent statements from federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, that Australia is prepared to take separate legal action in the international courts in the next six months if Japan persists with its abuse of IWC scientific whaling provisions.

‘There is no justification for the continuing slaughter of over a thousand whales in the North Pacific and Antarctica every year’ said Nicola Beynon of HSI. ‘Diplomatic negotiations over whaling are taking too long and risk a compromise that harpoons the global ban on commercial whaling. The Government’s long promised international court case is needed to ensure this is the last Christmas of cruelty in the Southern Ocean’.

The Christmas holidays also mark the time when many Australians are able to enjoy time at the beach. Unfortunately for many of our marine animals, coming inshore to the beach ends in tragedy, with many harmless animals coming into contact with shark nets. HSI is therefore calling for the removal of shark nets and baited drumlines from the coasts of NSW and Queensland, to protect our threatened marine life.

Removing the shark nets will not deny bathers protection, because they are ridden with holes and not a barrier against sharks, but it would save thousands of harmless marine animals’ said Ms Beynon.

Shark populations are in trouble in Australia and worldwide. HSI is seeking protection for a number of shark species under national legislation, in the hope that the sharp decline in numbers can be reversed before it is too late.

HSI is available for comments over the Christmas period on both these issues.

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