Subject: IWC: Whaling Commission to meet in (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 29 Jan 1998 12:47:34 -0500 (EST)

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Date: Thu, 29 Jan 98 12:04:00 GMT 
Subject: Whaling Commission to meet in

Whaling Commission to meet in bid to end impasse

    By Nikla Gibson
     LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The International Whaling
Commission (IWC) said on Wednesday it will meet in Antigua next
week to try to end a 15-year impasse over whaling restrictions.
    In an attempt to agree a set of formal proposals before  the
IWC's annual meeting in Oman in May, commissioners will discuss
an Irish plan put forward in October.
     "This is a major attempt to try to break the deadlock. If
this doesn't succeed, what is the future?," said an IWC
     Ireland was driven to try to forge a compromise after the
global tally of whale kills surged to 1,043 in 1997 -- almost
double the catch of 10 years earlier -- despite an international
     The five-point Irish plan would ban whaling on the high seas
but allow some hunting in coastal areas for local consumption
and under the strict control of the IWC.
     "Scientific whaling" -- killing whales for research as the
Japanese do -- would be phased out and no new countries could
begin whaling.
     Norway's whalers oppose any plan limiting consumption of
whale meat and products to local areas. The Norwegians are keen
to export whale blubber, which is not popular domestically but
prized in Japan.
     Japan says the clause banning high seas whaling contravenes
the IWC's mandate -- it was founded in 1946 to conserve stocks
for the orderly development of the whaling industry.
     This double-edged mandate has led to deep divisions between
the whaling and anti-whaling camps.
     Some environmental groups have criticised the Irish plan as
a reversal for the IWC, which voted a moratorium on commercial
whaling in 1982.
     "This proposal has been dressed up as an ocean sanctuary
for whales but it is nothing of the kind," said Andy Ottoway,
of the protest group Campaign Whale.
     "Any compromise deal will condemn many thousands more
whales to a cruel death."
     Environmental lobby groups fear that if a solution is not
found to the impasse, the IWC could break up and this would lead
to a revival of uncontrolled hunting of whales.
     Japan and Norway now hunt the relatively small minke, the
only plentiful balleen (toothless) species. The IWC estimates
there are around 760,000 minke whales worldwide.