Subject: Whaling and Native tribes: WhaleDesk Bulletin - Jan/Feb'98 (fwd)

mike williamson (
Sun, 8 Feb 1998 09:26:14 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 1998 18:02:34 +1100
From: WhaleDesk <>
Subject: WhaleDesk Bulletin - Jan/Feb'98


             The official bulletin of
                'Whales on the Net'

             Happy New Year to you All!

____________________Makah Whaling____________________

On May 5, 1995, the Makah Tribal Council Chair, Hubert Markishtum, wrote to
the US government asking it to represent the Makah before the International
Whaling Commission. The Makah requested the US Departments of Commerce and
State "... to represent the Tribe in seeking International Whaling
Commission approval of an annual interim ceremonial and subsistence harvest
of up to five (5) gray whales." The letter also stressed, "It should be
emphasized, however, that we continue to strongly believe that we have a
right under the Treaty of Neah Bay to harvest whales not only for
ceremonial and subsistence but also for commercial purposes."

What I find most anoying in the above is the use of the phrases "continue
to strongly believe" and "for commercial purposes". For the past 70 years
the Makah have lived without whaling and for those 70 years they have lived
under American law and yet not once did they object, protest or defeat the
establishment of laws to protect whales. Over those 70 years they watched
as the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was formed. They didn't stir
while the Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Whaling Convention Act, the Marine
Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the International
Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
(CITES) were put in place.

Not one minute of sleep was lost . . . until now! All of a sudden the LAWS
of the United States of America are no longer acceptible to the Makah
people. The Makah are going to kill whales. No other American citizen can
do that! What a joke.

For years, Japan and Norway have supported culturally based Small Type
Coastal Whaling as a way to the re-establish commercial (killing of)
whales. Desperate to control the resources of the world's oceans, Japan is
supporting and funding the push to open up indigenous whaling. Japanese
interests have backed the Makah effort all the way. But the Makah have
lived 70 years without whale meat, and they cannot argue a need for
subsistence, an IWC requirement up to now.

The second phrase "for commercial purposes" has frightening implications as
the only commercial purpose the Makah could put whale product to would be
to sell it overseas and that would be in defiance of the International
Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
(CITES). But, then again, why should international laws worry them as they
have no respect for their own.

The facts are there, the laws are in place and the Makah are NOT going to
kill whales, unless. . . no-one stops them! That's right YOU have to stop
them. For it appears that the US government is in agreement with the Makah
and in doing so is granting rights to native American Indians over and
above other US citizens and in defiance of it's own legislation!

You must write a letter of protest to your Congressperson, now. You have to
instill in your Congress the will to resist whaling at all costs. You must
convince the Clinton Administration that whaling is illegal and an
inhumane, environmentally unsound policy.

To suggest in l998 that native American Indians or any other indigenous
people have more respect for the earth than the rest of humanity is
questionable. We are all, each and everyone of us capable of revering the
earth and equally capable of destroying it. Dividing people by creating a
situation where there is one law for some and different justice for others
makes for great tensions in societies.

Graham Clarke.

For more on this issue:

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_____________________News Brief______________________

Dutch Harbor Oil Spill. By Dec. 3, 1997, an estimated 41,000 gallons of
heavy (bunker) fuel oil had been spilled from damaged fuel tanks of the
Japanese bulk freighter Kuroshima that had run aground near Dutch Harbor,
AK. Damage to wildlife and fisheries appears minimal, with 9 oiled birds
reported dead. Sea otters and seals in the area appear not to be oiled.
[Assoc Press]

Norwegian Whaling. On Dec. 6, 1997, the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries
announced that the 1998 quota for minke whales would be 671 animals. The
1998 quota includes an annual harvest of 621 minke whales plus 50
unharvested minke whales carried over from previous years. However,
Norwegian whalers were disappointed when the Norwegian government announced
that it would continue to prohibit the exporting of whale products. [Assoc
Press, High North Alliance News, Reuters]

Manatees and Red Tide. On Dec. 10, 1997, FL Dept. of Environmental
Protection officials announced that 16 dead manatees found from Nov. 6-26,
1997, mostly in Lee and Collier Counties, were victims of red tide toxins.
[Assoc Press]

Keiko. As of Dec. 15, 1997, all the tests on Keiko had not been completed,
and the release of the results of the evaluation was postponed until
mid-January 1998. {On Jan. 7, 1998, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Free
Willy-Keiko Foundation issued a joint statement announcing that an
arbitrator had ruled that the Aquarium should provide day-to-day care for
Keiko under the direction of the Foundation's medical and rehabilitation
plan.} [Assoc Press, Oregon Coast Aquarium/Free Willy-Keiko Foundation
press release]

Walrus Waste. In mid-December 1997, a federal grand jury indicted 6 walrus
hunters from Little Diomede Island, AK, on allegations of wasteful taking
of a marine mammal -- the hunters were accused of taking only the heads and
tusks of about 10 walrus. Arraignment has not been scheduled. [Assoc Press]

Whalemeat for Lunch? In mid-December 1997, officials of Shimonoseki, Japan,
announced that whalemeat would be placed on the local school lunch menu for
a single day in early 1998 for 25,000 students, to stimulate pride in the
port's historical role in Antarctic whaling. Shimonoseki would be the
second Japanese community to place whalemeat on the school lunch menu.
[Assoc Press]

Canadian Seal Quotas. On Dec. 30, 1997, Canadian officials announced that
the 1998 harp seal harvest quota would be 275,000 animals, unchanged from
the 1997 quota. A survey of the harp seal population is scheduled to be
conducted in 1998, to serve as the basis for deciding future quotas. The
hooded seal quota will be increased from 8,000 (1997) to 10,000 animals in
1998. Federal financial assistance for the sealing industry will be
C$500,000 in 1998, declining to C$250,000 in 1999. No federal financial
support is projected after 1999 for this industry. [High North Alliance

Keiko. On Jan. 7, 1998, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Free Willy-Keiko
Foundation issued a joint statement announcing that an arbitrator had ruled
that the Aquarium should provide day-to-day care for Keiko under the
direction of the Foundation's medical and rehabilitation plan. [Assoc
Press, Oregon Coast Aquarium/Free Willy-Keiko Foundation press release]

Manatee Mortality. In early January 1998, FL Dept. of Environmental
Protection officials announced that 240 manatees were known to have died in
1997 -- the second highest annual death count since recordkeeping began in
1974. [Assoc Press]

Dolphin Release Charges. In mid-January 1998, NMFS announced the filing of
charges against four dolphin freedom activists for harassing and illegally
transporting two captive dolphins in connection with their deliberate
release in waters off Key West, FL, in May 1996. Penalties against those
involved total $60,000. [NOAA press release]

IWC Intersessional Meeting. On Feb. 3-5, 1998, International Whaling
Commission (IWC) chairman, Michael Canny, is tentatively scheduled to
convene an intersessional meeting of the IWC in Antigua to discuss a
compromise proposal to allow a limited resumption of commercial whaling in
coastal waters. [personal communication]

Gray Whale Release. In late March 1998, Sea World San Diego anticipates
releasing a juvenile gray whale that has been under its care since
stranding in early January 1997. The U.S. Coast Guard will assist in the
release, timed to coincide with the annual northward migration of gray
whales along the CA coast. [Assoc Press]



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