Subject: Info: Russia not planning to resume whale hunting

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 10:53:09 -0500 (EST)

Russia not planning to resume whale hunting

  MOSCOW, January 22 (Itar-Tass) - There are no facts proving the
increase of the population of  the white whale in Northern seas. This
is why the resumption of whale hunting on a commercial scope is out of
the question, Alexei Yablokov, head of the Interdepartmental Commission
for Ecological Security under the Russian Security Council, believes.
   Commenting on the recent speculations about a possibility of the
resumption of whale hunting, which was totally stopped by the Soviet
Union in 1987, he said today in an interview with Tass that "there are
no grounds for such speculations."
   Sources at the Russian State Committee for Fishing also told Tass that
at present Russia is not ready for the resumption of whale hunting
either technically, or economically, because during the past ten years
the whaling fleet became obsolete.
   Yablokov refuted statements that the white whale eats too much
cod-fish, which may upset its population balance. The white whale does
not eat this variety of fish at all, he explained.
   According to his information, the population of only one type of whale
-- the minke shale -- has shown a perceptible increase of late. Its
habitat in the South Antarctic, which is a preserve zone. Whale hunting
even for scientific purposes is forbidden there.
   An international convention on whaling was signed in 1946. In
accordance with the convention, the International Whaling Committee was
set up, whose activities are aimed at eliminating any opportunity for
the extermination of whales. Signatories to the convention agreed with
the need for preserving the natural resources and confined whale
hunting only to those types of whales which can still be hunted on a
commercial scope. A quota for whale hunting was set for every hunting
season. At present only whaling for scientific purposes is permitted.