Statement on ongoing sale of meat from endangered sei whales

Media release

17 August 2019

Yesterday, on the eve of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18), I had my department seek an unambiguous commitment from Japan to address the ongoing sale of endangered sei whale meat on the Japanese domestic market.

We take this responsibility seriously and in this regard I am disappointed that Japan has been selling, in its domestic market, the meat of sei whales caught in the North Pacific and brought into the country in contravention of CITES rules.

Australia is working with the global community, through CITES, to ensure the protection of endangered plants and animals.

We acknowledge that Japan’s agreement to comply with CITES, and its commitment to not import sei whale meat for commercial sale from the high seas, is a positive step forward.

However, on whaling more generally, the Australian Government’s position has not changed. We remain resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling.

Australia remains strongly committed to the International Whaling Commission as the pre-eminent international body for the conservation and management of whales.

We urge Japan to return to the International Whaling Commission as a matter of priority.

Minister for the Environment