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OPS Creates Film Short For June IWC Meeting

Boulder-June 9, 2008- The Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) of the United States, an environmental film group with the support of the Chilean NGO Centro de Conservacion Cetacea (CCC) is releasing a short film of recently acquired covert footage of Japanese whalers slaughtering dolphins, to media groups, non government organizations (NGOs) and delegates to the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

In anticipation of the June IWC meeting in Santiago, and the expected bid by Japan to open coastal whaling, OPS and CCC hope to highlight Japan’s continued efforts to overturn the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.

Japanese whalers have slaughtered nearly a million small cetaceans, dolphins and porpoises, since the moratorium, many in a secret cove in the southern coastal town, Taiji, a whaling town that Japan’s IWC delegation has been trying to revive since the moratorium. The Japanese Deputy Director of Far Seas Fisheries, Hideki Moronuki and Joji Morishita, Japan’s representative for the IWC, claim the marine mammals are killed in a humane and instant manner, yet OPS’ footage shows a very different picture.

“Dolphins and porpoises are whales and size doesn’t matter,” says Louie Psihoyos, executive director of OPS, who has spent the last three years making a full length documentary film on dolphin slaughter, and the high mercury content of the meat. “The IWC has overlooked the littlest leviathans since the moratorium was put in place, even though their mandate is to manage all whales. This short film will shed light on the truth the Japanese whalers don’t want the world to see. One can argue that killing animals in any way is inhumane but both Morishita and Moronuki are aware that the dolphin meat is toxic and is being given away to school children to promote the commercial sale of whale meat. We are hoping the film will help sway the vote of any IWC delegate that is thinking of voting with Japan to open up commercial whaling. Killing nearly a million small cetaceans is commercial whaling, and allowing the highly toxic meat to be given away to school children is criminal, “ Psihoyos says. “Unfortunately we still can’t trust the Japanese whalers.”

With no management scheme in place, Japanese whalers slaughter entire pods in the most brutal way imaginable. CCC and OPS feel that allowing Japan to resume coastal whaling ignores the fact that they never really stopped, and that without international observers the Japanese whalers continue to kill whales, even mothers and calves, a practice that is banned yet shown in the PSA.

The world salutes Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s recent announcement that she will send legislation to parliament banning all whaling activities in Chilean waters.

Many conservationists see this as a triumph, yet expect a showdown in Santiago as Japan continues to influence votes in their favor.


Elsa Cabrera, executive director of the Cetacean Conservation Center explained that “the world needs to know about the slaughter of whales and dolphins in Japanese waters since it not only undermines the moratorium in place and threatens cetaceans populations that we know little or nothing about, but it also poses serious human health risk associated with the high level of mercury and other toxins found in whale meat and products. We hope members of the IWC will take these evidences into account when the Commission discusses the Japanese proposal to lift the moratorium.”



Contact:


Louie Psihoyos
Executive Director
Oceanic Preservation Society, US
www.opsociety.org

Viki Psihoyos
Communications
Oceanic Preservation Society
viki@psihoyos.com

Elsa Cabrera
Executive Director
Cetacean Conservation Center
Ph/Fax: (56 2) 228 2910
info@ccc-chile.org




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