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Research without death: $6m whale plan Share on Facebook
THE Federal Government will spend $6 million on a whale research program which it hopes will debunk Japan's claims that whales need to be killed in order to be studied.

by Fairfax - Monday, 17 November 2008

"Modern-day research uses genetic and molecular techniques, as well as satellite tags, acoustic methods and aerial surveys, rather than grenade-tipped harpoons," the Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, said.

The money will be announced today as part of the preparation for Australia's participation in the next round of International Whaling Commission talks, to be held next month.

The program will be called the Southern Ocean Research Partnership and be Australia's attempt to bring together anti-whaling countries under the banner of research.

Japan has been invited to join, but it seems unlikely the offer will be accepted, given part of the funding will be directed towards an assessment of Japan's whaling program.

Japan argues that in order to obtain the data it needs whales must be killed.

Australia disagrees with this and Mr Garrett said the research partnership would undertake a "comprehensive, independent assessment of the scientific credibility of Japan's so-called 'scientific' whaling program".

"The investment is about debunking once and for all the need to kill whales in the name of science and providing capacity to support non-lethal research partnerships, as well as promoting the economic value of whale-watching," Mr Garrett said.

International legal action against Japan remained a possibility, he said.

Last week, the respected Japanese newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, reported that the Antarctic minke whale quota would be reduced from 850 to 700 this summer, the first reduction in more than 20 years.

Opponents of Japanese whaling cited the figures as evidence that the struggling industry is in retreat.


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