Subject: IWC squabbles pose big risks t (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 13:30:50 -0400 (EDT)


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Date: Mon, 20 Oct 97 13:35:00 GMT 
Subject: IWC squabbles pose big risks t

IWC squabbles pose big risks to whales -Rainier

    MONACO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Prince Rainier of Monaco opened
the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting on Monday,
warning member states that their arguing risks tearing the
organisation apart.
     Rainier told the five-day meeting, expected to be one of the
most heated in years, that bitter disputes between whaling and
anti-whaling forces overlooked the main issues facing the
     Pro-whaling states like Norway and Japan have become
increasingly vocal in demands for an end to a moratorium on
commercial whaling while anti-whaling members want to make the
ban permanent.
     "We believe that decisions on whaling should be based on
conservation considerations alone, with due respect for the
rights of other nations to follow their own consciences,"
Rainier told the IWC's 49th annual session.
     "As it stands now, the tense conflict between the whaling
and anti-whaling coalitions -- each entrenched in their firm
resolve and convictions -- looks more and more like a no-win
situation for the whales.
     "As anti-whaling forces gain sufficient strength to impose
their views unilaterally, the temptation will grow larger for
whaling nations to defect from this commission ...reducing the
IWC to a small club of protectionist countries," he said.
     Coming from the anti-whaling camp, Ireland has put forward a
controversial plan to end the deadlock and stem mounting whale
slaughter that should be the main debating point of the Monaco
     Under this plan, whaling on the high seas would be banned
and only hunting in a few coastal areas for local consumption
would be permitted. The IWC would regulate hunting and no new
nations could begin whaling.
     "Scientific whaling," the clause under which Japan hunts
whales, would be banned. Japanese whale kills climbed to 540
this year from 517 last year and 288 in 1992, according to the
environmental group Greenpeace.
     Norway, which hunts minke whales in the North Atlantic after
having registered an objection to the 1982 IWC moritorium,
killed 503 whales in the last season, up from 383 in 1996 and 95
in 1992.