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Boy to committee: 'Stop Japanese whaling'

Thursday 12 Dec 2013 2:22p.m.

Boy to committee: 'Stop Japanese whaling'

Upper Hutt schoolboy Isaac Scott took his anti-whaling plight to Parliament today.

He appeared before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, asking the Government to take more direct action to stop Japanese whaling ships.

The 12-year-old started a petition two years ago and managed to collect more than 5000 signatures before handing it over to Parliament.

He was invited by Labour MP Chris Hipkins to present it today and make a speech.

"I am here to ask you to set an example to the rest of the world and stop whaling in the Southern Ocean."

The Southern Ocean has been established as a whale sanctuary but Japan is currently heading there for their annual whale hunt.

Isaac described to the committee a scene where a mother humpback whale and her calf are hunted by whalers in the Southern Ocean.

"As the harpoon is shot, it enters the body leaving a gaping hole 20cm wide and 30cm deep. It takes her 25 minutes to die. The calf is killed by rifle shots.”

Isaac’s passion for whales started at the age of two, when he saw a beluga whale and started studying the mammals.

"Since I’ve been growing older my passion for them has just been growing bigger and bigger and bigger because of their size, their intelligence. They’re just [such] majestic creatures and I can’t imagine life without them," he told the committee.

New Zealand stopped whaling 50 years ago, but Isaac wants the Government to take a stronger stance to stop Japanese whaling ships.

"The Japanese have [sent] down naval ships to protect their whalers so why can’t we send our naval ships to protect our whales?"

Isaac was accompanied by his mother, and Luit Bieringa, the director for the National Whale Centre Project where Isaac is youth patron.

"I think it resonated with the people there in a really good sense, better perhaps than a more adult person could have done," says Mr Bieringa.

Isaac says he has received a lot of support from Sea Shepherd – a direct-action intervention group who run an anti-whaling campaign called Operation Relentless.

He would like to join the crew when he turns 17 but says he hopes he does not have to "because [whaling] might all be stopped by then".

If his submission succeeds and whaling stops, he wants to become a Marine Biologist, so he can continue to study whales.

3 News

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