Subject: IWC: Whaling commission hopes to en (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 5 Feb 1998 09:39:10 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu,  5 Feb 98 13:04:00 GMT 
Subject: Whaling commission hopes to en

Whaling commission hopes to end impasse in Antigua

    By Colin James
     ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, Feb 4 (Reuters) - International Whaling
Commission members said they hoped to end a long impasse over
whaling restrictions at their informal meeting in Antigua, but
had made no decisions on the issue on Wednesday.
     During their first day of talks, commissioners discussed a
plan that Ireland put forward in October to ban whaling on the
high seas but allow some hunting in coastal areas for local
consumption and under the strict control of the IWC.
     The plan would phase out "scientific whaling" -- killing
whales for research as the Japanese do. And no new countries
would be allowed to begin whaling.
     Pro-whaling countries, led by Japan, were making a strong
bid to resume commercial whaling, conference participants said.
Norway opposed any plan to limit consumption of whale products
to local areas, as its whalers want to export whale blubber,
which is prized in Japan.
     "Whale species are not in danger," said Nobuyuki Yagi, a
Japanese fisheries official. "The ordinary people don't know
that there are many species of whales. We don't want to endanger
the whale population, but we see the recovery of the endangered
species," he said.
     Japan has argued that the clause banning high seas whaling
contravenes the IWC's mandate -- the group was founded in 1946
to conserve stocks for the orderly development of the whaling
     The United States, Britain, New Zealand and Australia,
supported by a number of nongovernmental organizations and
pressure groups, want a 15-year-old moratorium on commercial
whaling to stay intact, although delegates from the United
States and Britain attending the meeting have said they would
listen to arguments in the Irish plan's favor.
     Antigua and Barbuda whaling commissioner Daven Joseph said
discussions had focused mainly on the Irish proposal.
     "We are trying to define what are coastal areas, if we
agree to resume commercial whaling," he said.
     He said Antigua, which has softened its former staunch
opposition to lifting the ban, believes the Irish proposal could
be a viable compromise. "A window of opportunity has presented
itself through the Irish proposal," Joseph said.
     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 the
international moratorium.
     The IWC voted the moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982.