International Whaling Commission

House of Lords written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in the light of reports of Japan's illegal catches of more than £1 billion worth of southern bluefin tuna, they will take action to ensure a pro-conservation majority on the International Whaling Commission.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming and Food), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming and Food), The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

My honourable friend the Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare (Ben Bradshaw), has recently written to the Environment Ministers of all European Union member states that are not currently members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and to all those seeking accession to the EU, to encourage support for the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling and for the UK's policies on whaling.

Defra officials also ensure that Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts in the relevant capitals are briefed and engage in discussion with their counterparts on whaling at every appropriate opportunity. This ensures that these countries are in no doubt of the importance that the UK places on whale conservation.

We shall continue to encourage more conservation minded countries to join the IWC as soon as possible, in order to reverse the pro-whaling majority. The UK and its allies have taken every opportunity to try to persuade new anti-whaling countries to join the IWC, with some success; six have joined in the past two years.

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