Extinction fears for humpbacks



BRISBANE (AAP). ? The Australian whalewatching industry says it will be devastated if humpback whale hunting resumes.

Whale and Dolphin Watch Australia vicepresident Brian Perry said the $273 million industry hinged on its ability to get up close and personal with the endangered giants.

He said the resumption of humpback hunting would not only cause whales to fear boats, it could again push them to the brink of extinction.

"It's potentially devastating ? not just to the industry, but to the whales themselves," Mr Perry said.

His warning came as Japan continues its campaign at the International Whaling Commission to increase its take of minke whales and to resume hunting endangered humpback and fin whales.

Japan says the slaughter is for scientific and cultural purposes. Its bid has met with vo- cal opposition from anti-whaling nations.



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