17 November 2000
Prime Minister Helen Clark today condemned the departure of the Japanese whaling fleet for Antarctic waters, where it
intends killing up to 440 minke whales for supposed research into their feeding patterns and stock structure.
Helen Clark said that despite strong protests from world leaders, Japan continues to flout world opinion by keeping on
with its scientific whaling programme.
“I am outraged that Japan continues to practise such a barbaric hunt. This is the fourteenth year Japan has undertaken
this activity which is a thinly disguised excuse to obtain whale meat for consumption by wealthy Japanese. “
"The scientific information that Japan is allegedly seeking can be obtained by non-lethal means. An example of this is
being provided by the Japanese themselves, who have made two vessels available for the Southern Ocean Whale and
Ecosystem Research Programme expedition under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission.
"This expedition, which will also carry New Zealand and other international scientists, will undertake research early
next year on the whale stocks in Southern Hemisphere waters and their migratory patterns by taking skin samples,
photographing whales for purposes of identification, recording whale sounds and collecting behavioural data.
“Rather than continuing to kill whales, this is the sort of research which Japan should be undertaking as part of the
international effort to conserve whales," Helen Clark said.