INWR-Digest Number 22 : December 2001 (fwd)

From: Pita Admininstrator (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 09:42:57 EST


I N W R D i g e s t

Number 22, December 2001, ISSN 1192-3539


In this issue of INWR Digest we report on the refusal of IWC to allow
Iceland to rejoin the commission. The closeness of the vote determining
this result reflects the continuing polarization and impasse existing at
IWC, a problem earlier reported on in this newsletter (see "IUCN expresses
concern about IWC" INWR Digest 19; "IWC woes continue" and "IWC receives
more warnings" INWR Digest 20; "Editorial" INWR Digest 21). Looking ahead,
it will be interesting to hear or read the report given by the IWC Chairman
at the November 2002 CITES meeting, as he tries to reassure CITES members,
once again, that IWC is making progress in its management of commercial
whaling. But how will the IWC Chairman explain the rationale for excluding,
from an international WHALING commission, a nation like Iceland with a
demonstrated capacity to conduct high quality whale research and having the
intention of resuming sustainable whaling from abundant stocks of
non-endangered species? Given CITES past warnings to IWC about its lack of
progress in resolving its internal difficulties, some CITES delegates will
likely ask themselves: just how responsible, or credible, is IWC, when it
excludes Iceland (whose request for membership was perfectly legal under
the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties) but allows in Austria and
Italy, whose stated purpose for joining IWC was to flout international law
by subverting the IWC's underlying legal convention? Indeed, there is no
precedent within IWC for rejecting Iceland's application, and in the past,
both Chile and Peru were allowed to join IWC with reservations.

An interesting, if not important, research question might be to ask: how
relevant is IWC in relation to its legal responsibilities to insure whales
make a sustainable contribution to future global food supplies? This is a
relevant question, as the human population increases toward 8 billion
people in the next generation, as is the observation that IWC regulates the
taking of about 375 whales each year -- a number that it does its best to
reduce, rather than expand, as whale numbers and human needs continue to


The U.S. government is taking steps to reinstate the Makah gray whale quota
of five whales per year granted by the IWC. This quota was temporarily
suspended by the U.S. government following a June 2000 decision by the U.S.
Court of Appeals that the U.S. government had violated the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This violation was held to have occurred
when an environmental assessment (EA) of the impact of the hunt was carried
out after (rather than before, as required under NEPA) the Makah and the
U.S. government had concluded a whaling management agreement.

As required by the court decision, a new EA was published in January 2001
and public hearings held in Seattle on February 1 2001. A final EA was
issued on July 12 2001, and a new whaling management agreement between the
U.S. government and the Makah Nation was signed in November 2001.

This new management agreement is far less restrictive than the original
whaling agreement. Under the new rules, restrictions on the time the hunt
may be carried out are removed, and there are few restrictions on areas
where the hunt can be carried out. Thus the Makah may now hunt at any time
of the year in safe inshore waters off of tribal lands and within the
sheltered waters in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

According to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (November 29 2001),
the Makah Tribal Vice Chairman stated that the tribe was satisfied with the
revised whaling agreement, noting that the hunt will be much safer now that
no time restrictions apply.


The 2001 whaling season resulted in the quota of 549 minke whales being
landed, despite a slow start to the season in May due to poor weather
conditions. The quota was distributed among five whaling areas in the North
Sea, the Barents Sea and the Greenland Sea. Minke whales in these areas
derive from the Central and the Northeast Atlantic minke whale stocks
having estimated populations of 72,000 and 112,000 minkes respectively.
About 30 boats took part in the hunt, and whalers reported high demand for
the meat.

A veterinarian serves as whaling inspector on board each boat during the
hunt. According to their inspection, 78 percent of whales died instantly,
the remainder being rendered unconscious when the penthrite grenade
detonated. The unconscious whales died in little over one minute without
regaining consciousness. Norwegian harpooners attend mandatory whaling
courses and are required to pass stringent shooting tests.


A new system for distributing pilot whale meat in Torshavn, the capital
city of the Faroe Islands, was introduced in July 2001. City residents
wanting a free share of meat and blubber place their names on a list
administered by the city council. When meat becomes available, from a catch
in Torshavn or another bay where shares are plentiful, those on the list
are allocated their share in alphabetical order. The system commenced in
July when 53 whales became available from a catch of 120 whales in the
village of Sandur on the island of Sandoy. A further 20 whales from the
same catch were redistributed to the municipality of Skála.
At the end of August 2001 there were 7,487 individual names, in 805
households, on the list. The total population of greater Torshavn (which
includes three nearby villages) is 17,915. A total of 860 pilot whales has
been taken so far (August 24) this season in the Faroe Islands. All whale
drives were conducted in accordance with Faroe Islands government regulations.


In 2001 a new knife (grindakniv) was introduced into the Faroe Islanders'
whaling kit. This knife, designed and made in the Faroe Islands by Kristian
Glerfoss is currently undergoing tests by the government Veterinary
Service. The knife is 33 cm long with an 8 cm blade shaped like a large
arrow. The handle is intended to be gripped by both hands and is designed
to provide more control during the killing of the beached whales. The knife
is also intended to be safer to use by the whalers in particular
situations. Tests indicate the new knife significantly reduces killing
time, to approximately 2 seconds, compared to the approximately 30 seconds
using the traditional pilot whaling knife. Whalers using the knife have
praised its innovative design and look forward to its widespread
introduction into the hunt.


The Japanese whale research program (JARPAN) commenced on May 14, and the
vessels returned to port on August 3 2001. One hundred minke whales, 50
Bryde's whales and eight sperm whales were taken. This is the second year
of JARPAN, which is conducted pursuant Article VIII of the International
Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.


On November 6 2001, the five Japanese ships participating in the Antarctic
whale research program (JARPA) sailed from Shimonoseki in western Japan.
The research mothership (Nisshin Maru) is accompanied by three whale
catchers (Yushin Maru, No. 1 Kyo Maru and No. 25 Toshi Maru) as well as a
sighting survey boat (No. 2 Kyoshin Maru). This program was initiated in
1987, and is aimed to respond to the scientific uncertainties that
contributed to a majority of IWC members voting to establish a pause in
commercial whaling in 1982. The research involves sighting surveys and
collection of biopsy samples, as well as a sampling program involving
collecting up to 440 minke whales. Scientists collect about 100 sets of
data or samples for laboratory analysis from each whale taken; all JARPA
research results are submitted to the IWC Scientific Committee. The vessels
will return to Japan in April 2002.


Iceland's application to rejoin the IWC was rejected at the 53rd IWC
Meeting held in London in July 2001. This refusal to allow a former member
to rejoin, resulted from Iceland wishing to become a member with a
reservation exempting it from the 1982 IWC ban on commercial whaling.
Australia and the U.S. proposed that IWC vote on Iceland's membership
application, and in the ensuing ballot, 22 votes were cast against
Iceland's application, 19 were in favour, and three abstained. Two of the
three countries that abstained (France and Switzerland) prior to the vote
being taken had expressed the view that Iceland was within its legal right
to join IWC with a reservation.

No progress was made on completing the Revised Management Scheme (RMS), nor
on Japan's request for an interim relief allocation of 50 minke whales for
the four Japanese small-type whaling communities, pending ending the pause
in commercial whaling that came into effect at the end of the 1987 season.


The West Nordic Council is a joint parliamentary organisation of Greenland,
Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The Council's theme for 2001 is "The West
Nordic Hunting Culture"; a conference on the subject was held in Akureyri,
Iceland, June 11-14, 2001 with the purpose of contributing knowledge and
understanding of the region's traditions of sustainable utilisation of
natural resources. These traditions remain alive today and will hopefully
continue for generations to come. In conjunction with the year 2001
proclamation, the Council issued the following statement:

"How can anyone kill a seal? How can anyone possibly kill a whale? These
are natural questions from people who have spent their lives in populous
western cities. To the peoples from northern regions, these questions
provoke no more concern than the question, "How can anyone ever kill a pig
or a cow?" Eating meat from whales or seals is as natural to us as eating
pork, beef or poultry is to others. Wearing a beautiful coat made of seal
pelt comes as naturally as wearing clothes made from cow hide.

Hunting is part of our cultural heritage. It has contributed to forming our
traditional diet, our history and our identity. Through the ages, hunting
has been part of the very basis of our existence... To many of us, even
today, hunting constitutes a vital proportion of our livelihood and
well-being. Hunting is a special event for us, connecting our past with the
present... At the same time, hunting ties together the inhabitants of the
small west Nordic communities into a unique cultural fellowship... To the
peoples of the west Nordic and arctic areas, hunting is a question of
survival as well as an ancient cultural heritage. We want to keep and
preserve this tradition. However, a number of dangers are threatening the
west Nordic hunting traditions.
We acknowledge that hunting must be conducted in a sustainable manner...
The west Nordic hunting tradition is identified with a collective, solemn
respect for nature. [We] have always depended on nature. Short-sighted
exploitation remains a temptation that the west Nordic peoples simply
cannot afford... stocks are closely monitored by west Nordic and
international scientists. Hunting quotas and seasonal protection schemes,
etc., are implemented on the basis of expert advice in order to ensure
sustainable utilisation of the stocks.

Without doubt, pollution poses the greatest danger to the west Nordic
hunting culture. Heavy metals and other toxic substances accumulate in the
animals, threatening their fitness for human consumption [and] the animal's
fertility and survivability... Pollution knows no borders. We can but
appeal to the industrialised nations to act in a conscientious and
responsible manner and work continuously towards reducing the emissions of
environmentally hazardous substances into nature.

General misconceptions and insufficient knowledge of [our living]
conditions... have often posed a threat to [our hunting] culture...
Examples of this can be observed in campaigns against seal hunting in
Greenland, the sinking of Icelandic whaling ships and actions against the
Faroese killing of the pilot whale. These examples emphasise the importance
of a constructive dialogue between environmental and animal protection
organisations and the west Nordic peoples. We must ensure that discussion
will not be premised on myths and erroneous presumptions.

The protection of our stocks and the protection of our marine environment
are positive goals for us all... On this point, we regard the environmental
organisations as our allies. It is in our common interest [to produce] the
necessary knowledge and information about our stocks and the real dangers

[Edited text; see The West Nordic Council <>]


The International Coalition of Fisheries Associations (ICFA), an
international association of the world's major fishing nations, held its
2001 annual meeting from July 17-20 in Tokyo. ICFA adopted the following
statement during the meeting:

ICFA notes that: Maintaining the sustainable utilization of marine
resources is increasingly recognized as critical to meeting the human food
needs of the world's growing populations;
While recognizing the need to share the world's fisheries resources with
increasing populations of cetaceans, there is concern about the impact to
human food security worldwide;
The comprehensive assessment by the IWC Scientific Committee has already
shown that some whale species are sufficiently abundant to allow a quota
under the Revised Management Procedure.
Therefore ICFA: Reconfirms its position in support of the utilization of
marine resources including cetaceans as food for human beings, if those
resources are found to be sufficiently abundant to support sustainable use
based on scientific data,
Can find no reason to set or continue to keep zero catch limits for
sustainable marine resources,
Strongly supports the decision of the 24th Session of FAO's Committee on
Fisheries to study and review the interaction between marine mammals and
Opposes the establishment of any marine protected areas including any whale
sanctuaries that are not based on science and
Urges the expeditious completion of the IWC's Revised Management Scheme as
the CITES Secretariat requested at it's Conference of the Parties [COP] 11.


Allen, Robert C. and Ian Keay 2001. The first great whale extinction: the
end of the bowhead whale in the Eastern Arctic. Explorations in Economic
History 38(4):448-477.

Becker, Alfred 2000. Franks casket revisited. 29 pp. Bremen: author.
[on Northumbrian runic whale bone casket from ca. 650 CE]

Cassell, Mark S. 2000. IZupiat labor and commercial shore whaling in
northern Alaska. Pacific Northwest Quarterly 91:115-123.

Dickenson, Anthony B. and Chesley W. Sanger 2001. Norwegian Whaling in
Newfoundland: the Aquaforte Station and the Effeffsen Family, 1902-1908.
114 pp., illus. Research in Maritime History 20, International Maritime
Economic History Association, St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador.

Findlay, K.J. 2001. Natural history and conservation of the Greenland
whale, or bowhead, in the Northwest Atlantic. Arctic 54(1):55-76.

Frank, Stuart 2001. Fakeshaw: a checklist of plastic "scrimshaw"
(machine-manufactured polymer scrimshaw fakes). Third edition, 32 pp.
illus. Kendall Whaling Museum Monograph Series, 1B. Sharon, Massachusetts.

Freeman, M.M.R. 2001. Small-scale whaling in North America. In: J.R.
McGoodwin Understanding the Cultures of Fishing Communities: A Key to
Fisheries Management and Food Security,pp. 169-94. FAO Fisheries Technical
Paper, No. 401. FAO, Rome

Hamazaki, T. & Tanno, D. 2001. Approval of whaling and whaling- related
beliefs: public opinion in whaling and non-whaling countries. Human
Dimensions of Wildlife 6:131-144.

Hansen, Svend Einar 1999. Hvalfangserkirken. Fangst, tro og dristighet pD
Syd Georgia. 123 pp., illus. Oslo: Genesis forlag. [Parish work at the
whaling stations of South Georgia].

Kristiansen, Eivind H. 2000. Fra fembrring til stortrDler. Fangst, fiske or
forlis, menn or skuter. 206 pp. illus. Alta: author [ship biographies,
including small whale catchers]

Literaturhaus Köln (ed) 2001. Erster europäischer Moby-Dick-Marathon. 2-4
November 2001, Literaturhaus Köln. 16 pp., illus. Köln: Literaturhaus

Lund, Judith Navas 2001. Whaling Masters and Whaling Voyages Sailing from
American Ports: A Compilation of Sources. 740 pp, frontispiece, endpaper
illus. Kendall Whaling Museum (P.O. Box 297, Sharon, MA 02067). ISBN
1-57898-312-6. US$125 (plus $5 shipping).

Mitchell, R.B. 1998. Forms of discussion/norms of sovereignty: interest,
science, and morality in the regulation of whaling. In: Litfin, K.T. (ed)
The Greening of Sovereignty in World Politics. Cambridge, MA: The
Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] Press.

Reeves, Randall R., Jeffrey M. Breiwick and Edward D. Mitchell 1999.
History of whaling and estimated kill of right whales... in the
northwestern United States, 1620-1924. Marine Fisheries Review 61(3):1-36.

Rüppel, Uwe 2001. Kapitän Wilhelm Bades Touristikfahrten nach Norwegen,
Stitsbergen und ins europäische Nordmeer in polarphilatelistischer
Hinsicht. 212 pp. Bielefeld: Polarpost-Sammlerverein Bielefeld. [Bades was
involved with the first modern German whaling company].

Sandbakken, Enok 1998. En hvalfangers beretning -- fra en frrstereis'
dagbok. 127 pp., illus. Larvik: Krohn Johansen Forlag. {about the floating
whale factory ship "Southern Harvester"]

Schoell, Mark 1999. The Marine Mammal Protection Act and its role in the
decline of San Diego's tuna fishing industry. Journal of San Diego History
45 (Winter 1999):33-52.

International Network for Whaling Research
Milton Freeman, Canadian Circumpolar Institute, University of Alberta,
Edmonton AB T6G 0H1 Canada
Tel.: 1-780-492-4682 Fax: 1-780-492-1153 Email:

Associate Editors:
Klaus Barthelmess, Whaling Research Project, PO Box 620255, 50695 Cologne,
Tel.: 49-221-740-5790 FAX:49-221-740-5791 Email:

Louwrens Hacqueboard, Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, PO Box 716,
9700 AS Groningen, The Netherlands
Tel: 31-50-363-6834 Fax: 31-50-363-4900 Email:

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