IWC Whale Management Plan

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Mon, 28 May 1994 22:12:14

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Subject: IWC Whale Management Plan
 
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Subj:	IWC Approves Whale Management
 
Date:         Sat, 28 May 1994 13:10:00 UTC
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Subject:      IWC Approves Whale Management
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 IWC APPROVES WHALE MANAGEMENT RESOLUTION
    By Christine Tierney
    PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, May 27 (Reuter) - The International
Whaling Commission (IWC) Friday accepted a crucial part of a
programme to manage commercial whaling, but delegates stressed
the move did not sanction a resumption of hunting until many
other elements of the plan were in place.
    The IWC's acceptance of the so-called Revised Management
Procedure (RMP) seemed designed to signal that the
organisation's establishment of an Antarctic whale sanctuary
Thursday did not mean it had abandoned its original mandate of
managing the whaling industry.
    The resolution accepting the RMP was passed by consensus,
but delegates said it could not lead to a resumption of
commercial whaling in the near future.
    ``The United States does not support the resumption of
commercial whaling and does not foresee a resumption of
commercial whaling in the near future,'' said a member of the
U.S. delegation, which introduced the resolution.
    The RMP includes a mathematical formula to set kill quotas
based on historical whaling data, but it is only one piece of a
wider management scheme that needs to be put into place before
the IWC can reconsider a six-year moratorium on commercial
whaling.
    Britain withdrew as a sponsor of the RMP resolution, saying
it objected to its failure to mention humane killing as an
essential part of any new whale management system.
    The delegates pushing the resolution stressed that many
other issues needed to be discussed before a wider scheme could
be put into place, including the impact on whales of
environmental degradation, illicit trade of whale products,
inspection of whaling methods, and catch and quota enforcement.
    Delegates and participants said it could take anywhere
between two and 10 years for such a scheme to be completed.
    Some environmental groups viewed the RMP resolution as a
sinister exchange for the establishment of the sanctuary, but
U.S. officials denied that there was any behind-the-scenes deal.
    ``There is no quid-pro-quo between the sanctuary and the
RMP,'' said Brian Gorman, a spokesman for the U.S. delegation.
    But he added, ``We think that if there is to be whaling of
any kind, it ought to be done scientifically and under the aegis
of the IWC.''
    A European delegate said the IWC risked breaking apart if
the backers of the sanctuary had also blocked progress on the
RMP.
    If (Japan and Norway) decide the IWC will never lift the
moratorium, what's to keep them in the IWC?'' the delegate said.
    Separately, the commission adopted a resolution praising
Russia for releasing information on the illegal whaling
activities of Soviet vessels in the 1960s.