IWC a critical forum for protection of whales and oceans

Published on Thu 27 October 2022 1:36pm

The world needs more cooperative and collaborative efforts like the IWC. We need more efforts that operate with purpose and goodwill, in the shared interests of all people and all life on our planet.

Mr Wilson (1:36pm) – Last week, I had the privilege of representing the Minister for the Environment and Water at the 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission. The IWC continues to be a critical and effective forum for the protection of whales and other cetaceans and for the management of aboriginal subsistence fisheries. Let’s remember that, prior to the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling, there may have been fewer than 1,500 humpback whales transiting through Australian waters, and now there are tens of thousands. Earlier this year, the humpback whale was removed from our threatened species list. But we can’t kid ourselves about the severe threats and risks faced by our oceans and marine biodiversity, including cetaceans.

The IWC is a forum in which Australia has played a significant leadership role. Last week, a new sustainable budget arrangement was adopted on which Australia led the preparatory work and negotiations. What’s more, Australia’s commissioner, Dr Nick Gales, a legend in the world of cetacean science, was elected as the vice-chair of the IWC. Our public service is one of the greatest contributors to Australia’s shared wellbeing, and, while I was very glad to join the delegation last week, the hard and ultimately successful work has been done over months and years by Nick Gales, Belinda Jago, Mike Double, Adam Clark and Annie Robinson. As I said in making Australia’s contribution to the plenary debate, the world needs more cooperative and collaborative efforts like the IWC. We need more efforts that operate with purpose and goodwill, in the shared interests of all people and all life on our planet.

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