Listen up Japan: NZ and Australia announce whale research expedition

New Zealand and Australia have announced a joint Antarctic whale research expedition, saying it will demonstrate to the world that whales do not have to be killed to be studied.

Japan kills hundreds of whales every year for "scientific research" which is condemned internationally.

The research expedition was announced in Wellington today by Foreign Minister Murray McCully, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

The expedition will involve six weeks of research early next year using the New Zealand vessel Tangaroa in Antarctic waters.

"New Zealand strongly supports rigorous science to underpin whale management and Tangaroa's voyage will provide an ideal opportunity to obtain high-quality data in the Southern Ocean," Mr McCully said.

The research undertaken by Australian and New Zealand scientists would improve the understanding of the population structure, abundance, trends, distribution and ecological role of whales in the Southern Ocean.

Mr Garrett said the expedition was the largest international, collaborative research project to focus on improving the conservation of whales.

"This expedition, and the ongoing research programme, will demonstrate to the world that we do not need to kill whales to study and understand them."

The ministers said Australia and New Zealand were seeking to reform the management of science within the International Whaling Commission, including an end to "the so-called scientific whaling" and the development of internationally agreed, co-operative management plans.

Source: http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/5662853/nz-and-australia-announce-whale-research-expedition/

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