Subject: IWC: Don't be bullied into lifting (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Fri, 17 Oct 1997 13:47:07 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 97 13:40:00 GMT 
Subject: Don't be bullied into lifting

Don't be bullied into lifting whaling ban

  By Amanda Brown and Anjali Kwatra, PA News
   The Government was today urged to resist "bullying tactics" by
Japan and Norway when ministers meet next week to discuss a plan for
the resumption of limited commercial whaling.
   It was also urged by the RSPCA to drop its opposition to a ban on
European drift nets and end the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of
whales and dolphins.
   The proposal to allow a resumption of whaling would mean "disaster"
for the world's endangered whales if it gets the go-ahead at the
International Whaling Commission meeting in Monaco, the London-based
Environmental Investigation Agency warned.
   Commercial killing of Minke whales has been banned since 1986 but
both Japan and Norway still hunt them, using a loophole in the rules
which allows "scientific" quota catches.
   The new plan, put forward by the Irish, would allow Japan and
Norway to kill whales within 200 miles of their coastlines -- but in
return they would have to accept the establishment of a global
sanctuary for whales and the closing of the legal loophole on
scientific catches.
   But environmentalists warn the vast majority of whales spend some
time in coastal waters, so the Irish plan could expose virtually the
entire worldwide population to hunting.
   Dave Curry, of the EIA, told a London news conference that the
proposal belonged in "cloud cuckoo land", and added: "It bears no
reality to what goes on in Tokyo fish markets where whale meat ends
up for sale at  200 per kilo."
   The EIA wants agriculture and fisheries minister Elliot Morley to
support Labour's general election manifesto pledge to oppose
commercial whale slaughter.
   Mr Curry added: "We need leadership and we should not see the IWC
rolling over next week and being bullied by Japan and Norway."
   EIA head of campaigns Steve Trent said: "There is no scientific
evidence that whales have recovered from previous hunting, and whale
habitat is under threat from climate change, ozone depletion,
industrial fisheries and pollution. To accept this proposal would be
   The minister yesterday indicated his support for the Irish plan was
merely lukewarm. He told PA News the 200-mile coastal limit for
whaling was "absolutely unacceptable" and said he was keen to attend
the talks to hear other nations' views on the issue.
   The RSPCA call to the Government to end its opposition to a drift
net ban came on the day it published a report which revealed that EU
approved nets -- which are limited to a length of 2.5 kilometres --
catch and kill a huge number of animals including rare species such as
striped dolphins.
   Only four countries in the world still use large drift nets, Italy,
France, Ireland and the UK.
   The nets, which have floats on the top and weights at the bottom
and are left to drift drowning everything in their path, have been
labelled "walls of death" because of their indiscriminate killing
  At a London news conference, Helen McLachlan, senior wildlife
officer for the RSPCA, called on the Government to act immediately and
ban the nets.
   "The British Government holds the key to end the use of this
destructive fishing gear," she said.
   "Despite proposals from both the European Parliament and the
Commission to ban their use outright, the UK Government along with
Ireland and France, have effectively blocked these initiatives."

   A spokesman for Campaign Whale said today: "Commercial whaling is
an appallingly cruel and unnecessary industry, which is conducted by
some of the richest nations on earth.
   "The Government must stand by its convictions and enforce the
whaling ban. The whales deserve nothing less and the public demand it.
   "We are calling on the public to write urgently to Tony Blair and
tell him to oppose this plan."

   Liberal Democrat Environment spokesman Matthew Taylor said:
"Commercial whaling in the past brought many whale species to the
brink of extinction. We should therefore take a very cautious approach
to any moves that would allow commerical whaling to resume.
   "However, no-one can pretend that the current system is working -
some species are still threatened. No proposals should be thrown out
if there is a chance that we can limit the number of whales being
killed in our seas.
   "At the very least these new proposals will bring all whaling under
new IWC rules, but the Government must remember that there has always
been a problem with enforcement. No step in this direction should be
made until that can be thoroughly addressed."