Subject: IWC/Whaling:New debate on bid to allow wha (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 5 Feb 1998 09:39:45 -0500 (EST)


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Date: Thu,  5 Feb 98 13:02:00 GMT 
Subject: New debate on bid to allow wha

New debate on bid to allow whale hunting

  By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News
   The Government has pledged its opposition to commercial whaling as
international talks today aimed at lifting the global slaughter ban.
   Anti-whaling groups attacked a "cruel and unnecessary" proposal by
the Irish to allow hunting within coastal waters up to 200 miles,
which they claim threatens the survival of these creatures.
   Britain will be represented at the emergency talks in Antigua of
the International Whaling Commission which open today specifically
to discuss the plan.
   It was first debated last October when the IWC met in Monaco.
   While some groups claim it would curb the number of whales killed
each year, others say it will be a disaster for whale conservation
   Agriculture and fisheries minister Elliot Morley has deep
misgivings over the Irish compromise and attended the IWC meeting
last autumn to express his views.
   UK commissioner Ivor Llewellyn is representing the UK at the
negotiations in the West Indies but a MAFF spokesman confirmed to
PA News the Government stance has not shifted.
   "We do have doubts about this procedure and we are opposed to
commercial whaling. We want to end the loophole for scientific
whaling," the spokesman said.
   Mark Simmonds of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said:
"Not only is commercial whaling cruel and unnecessary, but the whole
terrible history of whaling shows it to be impossible to regulate.
   "Let's learn from the past and not give in to pressure from the
   Irish commissioner Michael Canny's proposal is being seen as a
bid to bring hunting back under IWC control, as Japan and Norway
continue to defy a ban on commercial slaughter.
   According to opponents, Japan is currently killing hundreds of
whales in Antarctica for so-called "research" - the meat being sold
for profit - while Norway has announced plans to kill more than 600
whales this summer.
   Some campaigners fear easing the ban will also increase whale
hunts and the smuggling of whale meat to Japan where it is an
expensive delicacy, fetching up to and more than  200 per pound.

   Sarah Wheeler, of the London-based Environmental Investigation
Agency, said in Antigua today: "The Irish Government is preparing
the ground to overturn the whaling moratorium behind closed doors
miles from the media spotlight."