Two items caught my attention in your paper last Monday, "Unravel sea life secrets" and "All aboard for a big day out" (The Argus, September 11).

The former offered a one-day course to identify dolphins and whales in the English Channel by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

The latter advertised the Southampton Boat Show, where the International Fund for Animal Welfare's (IFAW) conservation and research ship Song Of The Whale will be visiting September 15-24.

Many whale species have not yet recovered from earlier intensive whaling but it is still possible for Japan to undo the conservation work done by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) during the past few decades.

Japan is providing "incentives" to developing nations in the form of fisheries aid to persuade them to attend the IWC and vote for its pro-whaling position - yet some of these countries have never had any interest in whaling.

Despite official international opposition and a global moratorium on whaling, Japan not only continues to kill whales but is dramatically increasing its kill rate.

In the internationally-protected waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Japan has killed more than 860 whales this year, nearly double the number taken in these waters in 2005.

Japan's claim of killing whales for "scientific research" is an obvious ruse, a flimsy cover for the sale of whale meat on the open market as part of a commercial whaling program.

There is no need to harm whales in order to study them, as scientists on legitimate whale research vessels such as the IFAW's Song Of The Whale have repeatedly demonstrated.

It is crucial the UK Government steps up its efforts to stop pro-whalers taking over the IWC.

Tony Blair said in a speech in 2001, "we will continue to be in the forefront of the campaign to save whales".

I urge everyone to contact Mr Blair and ask him to summon the Japanese Ambassador to Downing Street to make the UK's opposition to whaling absolutely clear.

  • David Hammond, North Court, Hassocks