Subject: Whaling: CNN - Nations to debate whaling ban at conference - May 24,

Michael Williamson (
Thu, 27 May 1999 07:23:01 -0400

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CNN - Nations to debate whaling ban at conference - May 24, 1999
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Nations to debate whaling ban at conf= erence

A group of whalers from the Grenadine island of Bequia ride on top of the= partially carved body of one of two whales hunted off the coast of the C= aribbean island of Mustique

Related story:
Indian tribe celebrates first= whale hunt since 1920s
Message Board:

May 24, 1999
Web posted at: 12:23 p.m. EDT (1623 GMT)

In this = story:

Strict catch limits proposed

Australia to seek new whale sanctuary



ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada (AP) -- International whaling officials have gather= ed in Grenada to hear calls to ease a worldwide ban on commercial whaling= in the wake of a widely publicized whale hunt by the United States' Maka= h Indians.

The 1986 ban has helped raise the numbers of large whales, and some speci= es now number more than 1 million. But most types remain endangered, with= humpbacks numbering around 8,000, bowhead whales between 6,000 and 9,000= , and blue whales no more than 1,000.

At a five-day conference beginning Monday, Japan, Norway and many Caribbe= an allies plan to argue that growing gray and pilot whale populations sho= uld no longer be protected. They are joined by whaling industry associati= ons, who issued statements Sunday praising the health benefits of whale m= eat and opposing establishment of new whale sanctuaries in the world's oc= eans.

Strict catch limits pro= posed

The United States and its allies -- Australia, Britain, New Zealand and F= rance -- say the number of whales is still too low to ease the ban. And s= ome anti-whaling groups argue whales should never be hunted because they = are intelligent creatures.

"Nobody wants to go back to the whaling of yesterday, where whales were j= ust blown away ... but the fact is that controlled, managed whaling is no= w possible," said Eugene Lapointe, president of the pro-whaling World Con= servation Trust.

Still, the pro-whaling countries are not expected to muster the two-third= s majority needed to remove the ban.

"The lines are pretty well drawn," said Scott Smullen, spokesman for the = U.S. delegation, which supports the ban.

Japan and Norway have said they will also push for a less ambitious chang= e -- a 1994 "management plan" that would allow whaling under a system of = on-board observers and strict catch limits.

They are expected to cite the gray whale hunt last week by Washington sta= te's Makah Indians, who have been allowed to resume limited whaling. The = species was taken off the endangered list in 1994. The hunt, conducted un= der rules allowing indigenous tribes to revive native customs, was suppor= ted by the United States.

The U.S. delegation will present a report on the hunt, as well as an expl= anation for the 1998 killing of a bowhead whale calf by a Native American= tribe in Alaska. Whalers are prohibited from killing suckling calves; U.= S. officials say it was an accident.

Australia to seek new w= hale sanctuary

The commission will also rule on charges a whaler in the Caribbean countr= y of St. Vincent and the Grenadines killed a calf and mother in 1998 and = again in March. The whaler, Athneal Ollivierre, claims in both cases the = adult whale had no milk and the calf was no longer nursing. If he is foun= d guilty, his country could lose its quota of two whales per year.

In a proposal certain to anger Japan, Australia is calling for a new whal= e sanctuary in the South Pacific.

The U.S. delegation will call for more research into the effects of globa= l warming on the whales' food supplies.

It has warned that warming could also cause polar ice caps to recede, bri= nging more ships through whales' habitats. On Sunday, the delegation call= ed global change "the greatest threat" to whales in the future.

Britain has also filed a report proposing legal guidelines for whale-watc= hing operations, which it is pushing as a new "eco-tourism" attraction wo= rldwide.

Copyright 1999   The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

= Gray whales may be starving,= expert says
May 20, 1999
Makah cheer 'hist= oric day' after landing whale
May 18, 1999
Showdown nears over whale sanctu= ary
May 12, 1999
Coast Guard reportedly = boards anti-whaling vessel
May 11, 1999
Japan attempts to abol= ish whale sanctuary
April 7, 1999

= International Whaling Commission
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