Subject: IWC: Britain Backs Off Whaling Plan (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 13:45:31 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 97 13:34:00 GMT 
Subject: Britain Backs Off Whaling Plan

Britain Backs Off Whaling Plan

   LONDON (AP) -- Britain has backed away from supporting a
controversial Irish government plan to restart commercial whaling
to save the Minke whale from extinction.
   Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley said Wednesday
the plan, which he had backed in a letter to British lawmakers
earlier this week, has flaws that prevent the British government
from supporting it.
   The Irish proposal would allow Japan and Norway to catch Minke
whales in coastal water belts 200 miles wide, giving the go-ahead
to commercial killing for the first time in 11 years.
   In return, whaling nations would have to accept the
establishment of a global whale sanctuary and the closing of a
legal loophole that allowed killing for "scientific" reasons.
   Morley said the size of the proposed coastal limit was
"absolutely unacceptable."
   "The U.K. government's policy is no return to commercial
whaling. It's all a question of trust, but the scientific whaling
loophole would have to be closed," Morley said.
   The Irish proposal, which will be debated at an International
Whaling Commission meeting in Monte Carlo next week, is aimed at
saving the Minke whale from extinction.
   "We will only consider the possibility of agreeing to a
solution on these lines if it leads to a significant and permanent
reduction in the number of whales currently being killed each
year," Morley said.
   Environmental groups have protested for years that
"scientific" quotas allow Japan and Norway to exploit a dwindling
population of Minkes and satisfy demand for whale steaks in
upmarket restaurants.
   Whale meat is a delicacy in Japanese restaurants, and the animal
has been caught for centuries by small Norwegian fishing
communities. But years of illegal slaughter and the threat of
extinction of some species led to a worldwide ban of commercial
killing in 1986.