Subject: IWC: US wins whale-hunting quota for Makah Indians

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 15:33:59 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 23 Oct 97 12:47:00 GMT 
Subject: US wins whale-hunting quota fo

US wins whale-hunting quota for Makah Indians

    MONACO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Makah Indian tribe of the
United States obtained the right from the International Whaling
Commission (IWC) on Thursday to resume their ancient whaling
tradition and hunt grey whales, US officials said.
     IWC member countries approved a joint US-Russian request for
a five-year quota of 620 grey whales, a species considered to be
abundant, under an IWC exemption for aboriginal subsistence
whaling. The Makah, from the western state of Washington, would
be alloted 20 of the whales, averaging four a year.
    "It's clear in our interpretation that the delegates voted
on the proposal that encompassed both the Russian aspect of an
average of 120 and the American aspect of an average of four,"
U.S. delegate Will Martin told reporters. "We do recognise that
some delegations expressed reservations," he added.
     Environmental groups and many of Washington's traditional
allies at the IWC say the Makah, who have nothunted whales in
more than 70 years, do not fit the IWC definition of aboriginal
subsistence hunters who depend on whale meat.
     Some criticised the United States for twinning its request
with that of the impoverished Chukotka Inuit people of Siberia
and sought an amendment to the text to state that the quota was
for natives whose subsistence needs had been recognised.
     "When the Commission adopted the quota, they gave tacit
recognition of the underlying need (of the Makah). That's our
position," said Martin, international affairs director of the
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.