Subject: IWC: Whalers 'hid the toll of Pacific catches' (fwd)

mike williamson (
Thu, 28 May 1998 07:57:21 -0400 (EDT)

London TIMES   May 19 1998
   Whalers 'hid the toll of Pacific catches'
   JAPANESE and former Soviet Union whalers killed many thousands more of
   their quarry than official figures claim, scientists said yesterday.
   A meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Muscat, the
   capital of Oman, was told that 70,000 sperm whales were slaughtered
   illegally by the Soviet deep-sea fleet in the Pacific between 1949 and
   Russian scientists admitted that they had been sworn to secrecy by the
   KGB and Soviet officials. The extra kills were hidden by so-called
   double booking.
   Toshio Kasuya, a former fisheries scientist for the Japanese
   Government, alleged that his country's fleet had killed large numbers
   of pregnant sperm whales in the Pacific in defiance of IWC rules. He
   claimed that Japanese whalers, who were allowed to take pregnant
   female sperm whales caught accidentally, had actually targeted them.
   Up to 40 per cent of the catch were pregnant females, rather than the
   11 per cent officially claimed.
   A proposal from Michael Canny, the Irish whaling commissioner, calls
   for a global sanctuary in return for a limited approval of coastal
   whaling in a nation's waters.
   But Allan Thornton, of the London-based Environmental Investigation
   Agency, said: "These extraordinary revelations prove commercial
   whale-hunting cannot be controlled. The whaling industry has
   deliberately lied about the numbers of whales killed."
   Britain is leading opposition to the Irish move, backed by the United
   States and Australia.