Subject: IWC: Ireland gauges support for com (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 14:20:38 -0400 (EDT)


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Date: Fri, 24 Oct 97 12:36:00 GMT 
Subject: Ireland gauges support for com

Ireland gauges support for compromise whaling plan

    By Christine Tierney
     MONACO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The International Whaling
Commission (IWC) ends its annual meeting on Friday with a
compromise plan under consideration to try to break the deadlock
between whalers and their opponents.
     The plan, announced on Tuesday, would allow limited coastal
whaling of abundant species but only for local consumption and
would ban whaling on the high seas.
     It would also phase out scientific whaling, carried out by
Japanese hunters who kill over 400 whales a year for research.
     One source at the IWC said Irish Whaling Commissioner
Michael Canny would probably announce plans to draft a formal
proposal for next year's IWC annual meeting in Oman. "He's not
going to drop this," the source said.
     The response to the compromise proposal has generally been
cautious or cool. But its advocates say agreement must be found
to bring the whaling nations back under IWC supervision.
     Canny has been lobbying commissioners in the past two days
while attention was focused on a controversial U.S. request for
an aboriginal subsistence quota of four grey whales a year.
     Despite strong objections from several governments and
environmental groups at the five-day meeting, the IWC on
Thursday approved a joint U.S.-Russian quota allocation that
includes the small catch for the Makah tribe from the western
U.S. state of Washington.
     The tribe claims a 1,500-year whaling tradition and the
right to hunt whales under an 1855 treaty with the United
States. Anti-whaling groups say the Makah are not subsistence
whalers, as they have not been whaling in more than 70 years.
     The controversy pitting aboriginal rights against whales
overshadowed the issue whether the IWC can survive an evolution
from a regulatory hunting body to a group with a majority of
members who think whale-hunting is cruel and unnecessary.
     Representatives from Britain, Australia and the United
States saidthis week that they reject any move to allow
commercial whaling even though Japan and Norway already defy a
ban on commercial whaling voted by the IWC in 1982.
     Commercial whale kills have tripled to 1,043 in the past 12
months from around 350 at the start of the decade, according to
IWC figures.
     Japan's delegates say the Irish plan's clause banning high
seas whaling contravenes the IWC's mandate to regulate
sustainable hunting of whale populations, some of which have
begun to recover after three decades of protection.
     Japan and Norway hunt the minke, a plentiful species with a
worldwide population estimated at 760,000.