Subject: Whaling:Suits Aims To Block Tribal Wha (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 13:29:41 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 97 13:34:00 GMT 
Subject: Suits Aims To Block Tribal Wha

Suits Aims To Block Tribal Whaling

 Associated Press Writer
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House Republican and animal protection
advocates sued the government Friday in an effort to prohibit an
Indian tribe from Washington state from whaling off the Olympic
   The suit in U.S. District Court here against Commerce Secretary
William Daley says the whaling planned in or near a national marine
sanctuary off the coast of Washington state violates several
environmental laws.
   "It is shameful that the United States would endorse a proposal
which is not only illegal but which flies in the face of the
values, interests and desires of the majority of U.S. citizens who
believe that whales should be protected, not persecuted," said
Rep. Jack Metcalf, R-Wash., one of the plaintiffs.
   The Makah Tribe of Neah Bay, Wash., wants to kill five gray
whales a year to re-establish spiritual connections on which their
tribal culture is based. They say the hunt is for subsistence and
the meat won't be sold.
   A U.S. delegation attending the International Whaling Commission
meeting in Monaco is seeking permission for the Makahs to kill up
to 34 gray whales over the next four years.
   The delegation led by Will Martin, director of international
affairs for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, agrees with the tribe that the whaling is allowed
under the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay. NOAA is a Commerce Department
   "The whaling right expressly reserved to the Makah in the 1855
treaty is unique, as no other tribe in the United States has a
treaty containing a specific reservation of the right of whaling,"
the delegation said in a statement being distributed this weekend
in Monaco.
   In addition to the treaty rights, the Makahs have a 1,500-year
tradition of hunting whales that stopped in the 1920s because of
whale stock depletions, the delegation said.
   Scientific assessments have determined there would be no adverse
impact on the whales as a result of the Makah hunt, the delegation
   Australians for Animals, Breach Marine Protection of the United
Kingdom and a Makah tribal elder joined in the lawsuit accusing the
government of violating the National Environmental Policy Act by
not first preparing a detailed impact statement on the tribe's
   The suit also accuses the government of violating the National
Marine Sanctuaries Act and the Whaling Convention Act.
   Gray whales were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1972
but were removed from the list in 1994 after their population