Subject: IWC Preview 1997 (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 13:17:15 -0400 (EDT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 22:19:29 +1000
From: Graham Clarke <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: IWC Preview 1997

                                  Preview of the Major Issues

                             49th Annual General Meeting of the


                               Monaco 20th to 24th October 1997


Scientific Permits
During the 48th AGM a resolution was passed requesting Japan to "refrain
from issuing a special permit for the take of Southern Hemisphere Minke
whales, particularly in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

Japan has yet to officially confirm their take of Minke whales during this
past season but are expected to have killed 440 whales within the Southern
Ocean Whale Sanctuary. More than 1,000 tonnes of whale meat flensed from
these whales has already made its way into the Japanese whale meat market.

An additional 100 Minkes have been taken again this year from the
Northwestern North Pacific.

Japans unwillingness to cease issuing permits will certainly be discussed
again this meeting.

Small-Type whaling
For the tenth successive year, Japan will request an allocation of Minke
whales for four of its coastal villages to "relieve the hardship"
experienced in these communities since the Moratorium. The proposal for an
interim relief quota" of 50 Minke whales was defeated last year.

Japan did succeed in having the commercial, socio-economic and cultural
needs of these communities reviewed for discussion at this year's meeting.


Commercial Whaling
Like Japan, Norway paid no heed to Resolutions made last year. In
particular, to the Resolution calling on Norway to "reconsider its
objection to the moratorium and to halt immediately all whaling activities
under its jurisdiction". The Resolution also called on Norway to "maintain
its policy against the export of whale meat and products" in light of
evidence of illegal trading.

As expected the Norwegian government issued an increased quota (580 Minke
whales) over last year.

A stronger stance on Norway's actions seems appropriate for this years
meeting but it remains to be seen.

Humane Killing

It is expected that the contentious "electric lance" a secondary killing
method will again be a topic of discussion. As in previous years the
lance's effectiveness will be a hot topic. The whaling nations insisting
that the electric lance is the most effective secondary killing method
available while recent research concluding that rather than being
effective, the lance "is likely to cause extra pain and suffering to an
already distressed animal".

The Commission may reconvene the Working Group on Humane Killing.

Whale Watching

The Commission is likely to continue its interest in the growth and
development of whale watching internationally. The Commission has endorsed
the Scientific Committee's recommended priorities for further work in the
area of approach distances, activity limitations and platforms, and also
that the educational, economic and social development aspects of whale
watching should be discussed further at this year's meeting.

Small Cetaceans

Debate over the Commission's "competence" concerning small cetaceans will
probably punctuate the discussion again this year. Many of the countries
that question the IWC's involvement are also those who have contentious
small cetacean fisheries or have poor cetacean management track records.

Current schedule for small cetacean work includes:
         1997 - review the small cetaceans in African coastal waters;
further consider criteria for assessing the status of Harbour porpoise
populations; review the Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) globally.
         1998 - review the Beluga and Narwhal globally; review bycatch
mitigating measures.
         1999 - review the genera Tursiops (Bottlenose dolphins) and
Lissodelphis (Rightwhale dolphins) globally.

Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling

Subsistence whaling quotas remained unchanged following the 1996 meeting,
with the exception of an extension of the current quota for St Vincent and
the Grenadines.

Four aboriginal Subsistence quotas fall due for review this year: the
eastern North Pacific Gray whales, east Greenland Minke whales, west
Greenland Minke whales, west Greenland Fin whales.

Last year the Russian Federation argued strongly for an additional five
Bowhead whales for the Chukotka natives. It was pointed out that the
Chukotka were not presently utilising their full Gray whale quota and that
Bowheads were the most endangered whale species.

A new application for a quota of five Gray whales for the Mukah Indian
Tribe in the north-western United States was withdrawn last year after much
debate. The proposal is expected to be put again this year.

Other Issues

The Revised Management Scheme (RMS) Is likely to be as contentious and as
laborious as in previous years.

Whale Stock Assessment, the Southern Ocean Sanctuary and Scientific
Research are other major issues on this year's agenda.

Written by Paul Hodda - Australian Whale Conservation Society
Edited by Graham Clarke

Graham_J._Clarke - "WHALES IN DANGER"
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