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Whaling Wars: reality, truth and ethics


Brigid Veale
15 February 2008
‘Whaling Wars: reality, truth and ethics’ will be the subject of a keynote address at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus on Tuesday (February 19) as part of O Week activities.

Associate Professor Peter Harrison, the director of the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre, will outline the threats posed by Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling program in the Southern Ocean and highlight the need for protection of endangered whales.

The seminar is being sponsored by the Southern Cross University Alumni program and all members of the public are welcome to attend.

Professor Harrison said Japan’s whaling program was in reality commercial scale whaling masquerading as science.

Japan’s whaling fleet has come under strong international criticism, particularly following the highly publicised slaughter of a female minke whale and its baby. The fleet is aiming to kill 935 minke and 50 fin whales as part of its ‘scientific’ whaling program.

“There is absolutely no excuse for ‘scientific whaling’. The International Whaling Commission has consistently stated that it does not require the information that the Japanese continue to claim they are gaining,” Professor Harrison said.

“The long-term research we are conducting at the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre provides all the necessary genetic data on the humpback population and clearly highlights the importance of non-lethal whale research.”

Professor Harrison is an appointed member on the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee and is an advisor to various international and national research organisations. He is director of Marine Studies in the School of Environmental Science and Management and is also the director of the University’s Coral Reef Research Centre.

The seminar will be held at the Whitebrook Theatre on Tuesday, February 19, from 1pm to 2pm. Copies of the book A Whale’s Song will be available for sale after the seminar at the Co-op Bookshop to support the work of the centre and provide further information.