From: Mike Williamson (
Date: Mon Jul 24 2000 - 07:46:08 EDT

From: Sea Shepherd International <>
Reply-To: seashepherd <>
To: seashepherd <>

July 21, 2000

Secretary leading the way back to commercial slaughter

The head of the Netherlands delegation to the International Whaling
Commission (IWC) and the Dutch Secretary General of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are openly working toward
the goal of legalizing the commercial hunting of whales and worldwide trade
in whale meat.

Fer von der Assen leads the Netherlands' delegation to the IWC and chairs
its "Revised Management Scheme" Committee, charged with gathering input from
member nations on the regulatory features of a theoretical future resumption
of whaling, should whale populations someday recover from the decimation of
centuries of commercial hunting. The U.S. IWC delegation's copies of von der
Assen's "Draft Revised Chapter V of the Schedule" and his May 26, 2000,
cover memo, sent from the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, have been obtained
by U.S. Citizens Against Whaling and Sea Shepherd International. They show
that von der Assen proceeded beyond the compilation of comments and went on
to draft the terms of a return to commercial whaling, which are now to be
voted on at a special intercessional meeting of the IWC to be he held in
Japan in February.

In June, when asked by the Dutch newspaper Noordhollands Dagblad about the
existence of the plan and the involvement of the Netherlands' IWC
Commissioner, officials with the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture denied all

Subsequently, the terms of von der Assen's draft Revised Management Scheme
were provisionally approved at the July meeting of the IWC in Adelaide,
Australia, one day after a letter was sent to the Chairman of the IWC by
Willem Wouter Wijnstekers, a former Dutch government bureaucrat who is now
Secretary General of CITES. Wijnsteker's July 4 letter sternly informed IWC
Chairman Michael Canny that "the IWC should soon make important progress
towards the adoption of a Revised Management Scheme. This would allow the
Conference of the Parties to CITES to adopt the appropriate management
regime for whale stocks."

Before CITES met in Nairobi, Kenya, in April, Wijnstekers had recommended
re-opening global trade in minke whales and gray whales, in accord with the
wishes of whaling nations Japan and Norway. He was forced to reverse his
recommendation when the majority of CITES member nations pointed out that a
move to re-open trade at CITES could not be made in the absence of a
management plan for whale hunting at the IWC.

The popular movement that resulted in the IWC moratorium on commercial whale
hunting, in effect since 1986, is considered the greatest single success of
the international environmental community.

"The people of the world are generally unaware that their representatives
have agreed to the proposition that the whales are the property of those
countries that wish to kill them for money," said Sea Shepherd International
President Paul Watson. "International bureaucrats are preparing to go back
to the slaughter against the scientific evidence that whales should not be
hunted, and against the desire of the majority of the worlds' people that
the current violations of the ban on whale hunting be halted and strictly
enforced, and that humanity never again subject these creatures to
commercial exploitation."


Sea Shepherd International
P.O. Box 2616
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
(360) 370-5500

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