Calls made for whaling issue to be part of EU-Japan free trade agreement negotiations
Once again, Japan’s whaling activities is in focus. Conservationists and the European Parliament are urging the European Union to (EU) take a stronger stand against whaling in its current negotiations with Japan on a free trade agreement (FTA).
“The numbers speak for themselves. Japan wants to kill 4,000 whales in the Antarctic in the next 12 years. It would be downright irresponsible to have a FTA between the EU and a whaling country while hundreds of whales die needlessly every year,” said Astrid Fuchs from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).
For years, Japan has conducted its whaling activities under the guise of science, despite the international moratorium on commercial whaling. In December 2015, despite not receiving permission from the International Whaling Commission, the Japanese whaling fleet killed 333 minke whales; 90 of the adult females that perished were pregnant. In March 2014, the International Court of Justice declared that Japan’s “scientific” whaling in Antarctica was illegal and confirmed that the programme violated the international moratorium on commercial whaling.
Members of the European Parliament across all political groups recently joined the international protest against Japan’s whaling activities. During a session in June 2016, the majority agreed that the EU needed to take stronger action and increase the pressure on Japan to halt its whaling activities. Then, on July, 6th 2016, by a large majority, it passed a resolution calling for stricter measures by the EU and condemned Japan’s whaling activities and its related violations of international agreements.
The resolution made specific reference to the current free trade agreement negotiations between Japan and the EU. It calls on the EU Commission and member states to conduct their negotiations through bilateral and multilateral channels with a view to end whaling. In urging them to do its utmost to resolve the issue, it reiterates that “whaling causes severe suffering to individual(s) and threatens the conservation status of whale populations as a whole.”
The European Parliament, as representatives of the European public, has to give its consent to finalise this free trade agreement with Japan. Fuchs said that the EU Commission should use the negotiations with Japan to move in the direction towards species conservation.
More information: www.whales.org