Bowhead & minke quotas-IWC
Mon, 30 May 1994 19:03:18

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Subject: Bowhead & minke quotas-IWC
From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 30-MAY-1994 12:49:27.72
Subj:	IWC Raises Alaskan Quota,
Date:         Mon, 30 May 1994 09:19:29 PDT
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject:      IWC Raises Alaskan Quota,
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
    By Christine Tierney
    PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, May 27 (Reuter) - The International
Whaling Commission (IWC) Friday increased the number of bowhead
whales that north Alaskan natives may kill under a clause that
permits whaling by aboriginal groups.
    But it turned down a request from Japan to allow three
Japanese coastal communities affected by a six-year IWC
moratorium on commercial whaling to catch 50 minke whales a
    The Japanese, stung by the commission's decision Thursday to
establish an Antarctic sanctuary in their hunting grounds, said
the decisions were inconsistent.
    ``It's all problems of people, and both the United States
and Japan are developed countries,'' Japan's chief delegate
Kazuo Shima said, drawing the parallels between the two cases.
    ``What's the difference between Japanese coastal communities
that depend on whaling and aboriginal communities?'' asked Alan
Macnow, a spokesman for the Japanese Whaling Association.
    The Inupiaq of Alaska were allotted 51 catches a year or 68
strikes, which include killed whales that could not be retrieved
by the hunters -- whichever occurs first.
    The increase in the quota, up from 41 catches or 54 strikes,
reflects the rapid growth in the population of the area's 10
hunting communities since the mid-1980s, said George Ahmaogak,
the mayor of the North Slope Borough of Alaska.
    ``It's what we needed. We're very happy,'' Ahmaogak said.
    The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982,
fearing too many baleen species were depleted, but it allows
exceptions for aboriginal whale hunters and sets quotas.
    Bowhead whales, which live in the northern seas, are a
depleted species of baleen, or large toothless whale.
Environmentalists estimate there are only about 10,000 bowhead
whales, but IWC scientists approved the Inupiaqs' request.
    The increase was granted because the population of the
Inupiaq communities has grown about four percent a year over the
past decade to around 6,500, Ahmaogak said.
    The Inupiaq eat the bowhead whale meat, a staple in their
diet, and use the fat as a food preservative.
    The Japanese request was voted down overwhelmingly on the
last day of the IWC conference, even though minke whales are
plentiful numbering nearly 800,000.
    Japan has been widely accused of hunting whales for
commercial purposes under the guise of conducting research on
Antarctic minke whales. Japanese whalers may catch up to 330
minke whales annually under a 12-year programme, and the whale
meat is sold in fish markets.
    Shima denied the accusations, saying Japan's research was
welcomed and accepted by the IWC's scientific committee.
    He told a news conference at the close of the meeting that
he strongly believed the research -- both lethal and non-lethal
to whales -- should continue despite the creation of the