Subject: IWC: Environmentalists slam Irish w (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 13:45:08 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 97 13:39:00 GMT 
Subject: Environmentalists slam Irish w

Environmentalists slam Irish whale compromise plan

    LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Commercial whaling, banned by
international agreement since 1982, could resume in many
countries if the International Whaling Commission agrees to a
proposal to be put before it next week, a British environmental
pressure group warned on Thursday.
     The Environmental Investigation Agency, which has a long
record of campaigning on the issue, accused the new British
government of preparing to jettison a key election pledge by
refusing to reject the plan to allow whaling in coastal waters.
     "There are many countries which, if they were given
international sanction to restart whaling, would take advantage
of that," EIA head of campaigns Steve Trent told a news
conference. "That would be a disaster for the whales."
     He said Norway already defies the worldwide ban, while Japan
gets round it by sanctioning "scientific whaling" and then
allowing the whale meat to be sold.
     Under a plan which Ireland will propose to an IWC meeting in
Monaco, "scientific whaling" would be outlawed but in return
whaling would be allowed in coastal waters, perhaps as far as
200 miles (320 km) from land.
     Trent said that in theory this could mean whaling being
permitted in 40 percent of the world's seas, through which
almost every species of whale passes at some time.
     He warned this could tempt countries such as Russia, South
Korea and Taiwan, keen to exploit the Japanese market where
whale meat can fetch as much as $320 a kilo, to resume
commercial whaling.
     He said the proposal was especially irresponsible because
there were fears that global warming and the thinning of the
ozone layer at the North and South Pole might reduce the whales'
food supply.
     British Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley recently wrote to
members of parliament about the Irish plan, saying that the
government "does not believe that these...ideas can be rejected
out of hand."
     He said positive features of the Irish proposal included a
ban on international trade in whale products as well as the end
of scientific whaling.
     But Morley has indicated Britain could not back the idea of
"coastal waters" being defined as widely as 200 miles from
     EIA director Dave Currey pointed out that a Labour Party
policy document issued for the May 1 general election,
accompanied by pictures of Morley and Tony Blair, stated: "On
welfare and conservation grounds, we are completely opposed to
commercial whaling."
     "We have a new government in Britain... we think we should
see leadership," Currey said. "We should not see them keeling
over and saying 'Well, we have been bullied. Let's find a way to
start commercial whaling again'."