Subject: IWC: Ireland aims to end deadlock w (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 13:30:10 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Mon, 20 Oct 97 13:33:00 GMT 
Subject: Ireland aims to end deadlock w

Ireland aims to end deadlock with whale hunt plan

    By Christine Tierney
     PARIS, Oct 17 (Reuters) - A controversial Irish plan to
allow some whaling represents an attempt to break a deadlock
between hunters and environmentalists and stem mounting whale
slaughter, delegates to an International Whaling Commission
(IWC) meeting next week said on Friday.
     "Despite the moratorium, whaling is on the increase. That's
the context in which this plan is presented," said Peter
Brazel, an Irish delegate to the IWC, which begins its 49th
annual meeting in Monaco on Monday.
     "If the impasse continues, it would lead to further
unregulated whaling," he told Reuters. "Ireland has outlined
its views with the idea to promote a discussion hopefully
leading for a compromise."
     The plan would ban whaling on the high seas and restrict the
hunt to a few coastal areas for local consumption, he said.
Hunting would be regulated by the IWC, and no new nations could
begin whaling. So-called "scientific" whaling, the clause
under which the Japanese hunt whales, would be phased out.
     Japanese whale kills climbed to 540 this year from 517 last
year and 288 in 1992, according to environmental group
     Norwegians, who hunt minke whales in the North Atlantic
after having registered an objection to the 1982 IWC moratorium,
killed 503 whales in the last season, up from 383 in 1996 and 95
in 1992.
     "The Irish government is looking to bring Norway and Japan
under some kind of IWC control," said a spokesman for
Greenpeace, which does not however support the plan. "We're
opposed to all commercial whaling and that includes in coastal
     A spokeswoman for the World Wide Fund for Nature said: "We
support the moratorium, but we think it's important that the IWC
confront the crisis it's facing. Each year the number of whales
killed outside its control is increasing."
     The plan would address demands from aboriginal groups
seeking small hunting quotas, and also acknowledges the argument
put forward by the whaling countries that the IWC has strayed
far from its mandate to regulate whaling using scientific
conservation methods.
     They say they hunt minke whales, the last plentiful balleen
(toothless) species. The IWC estimates minke stocks at 760,000
worldwide, compared with a few hundred giant blue whales left.
     "If the IWC persists in its opposition, those countries
which feel they have a legitimate right to do whaling will do so
outside international control," IWC Secretary-General Ray
Gambell said.
     "The point (of the Irish plan) is there would be closer
control through inspection and observation schemes."
     Inspections are difficult on the high seas, as modern
whaling vessels can quickly butcher, chop and pressure-cook the