Subject: Norway Whaling

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Mon, 10 Jun 1994 07:03:32

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Subject: Norway Whaling
 
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Subj:	Norway to Allow Controversial
 
Date:         Tue, 7 Jun 1994 09:23:43 PDT
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
Subject:      Norway to Allow Controversial
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
 NORWAY TO ALLOW CONTROVERSIAL WHALE HUNTS IN 1994
    By Alister Doyle
    OSLO, June 6 (Reuter) - Norway said on Monday it would let
whalers harpoon 301 minke whales in 1994, defying an
international moratorium on commercial whaling and a U.S. threat
of trade sanctions.
    The environmental group Greenpeace vowed to step up an
anti-whaling campaign against Norway begun last year when Oslo
resumed commercial hunts of minke whales after a six-year break.
    In 1993, whalers caught 226 minke whales, short of the
original quota of 296 set for the year.
    ``Whalers will be able to catch 301 whales this year,''
Stein Owe, Director General at the Fisheries Ministry, told
Reuters. The government had previously refused to say even if it
would allow commercial whaling for 1994.
    President Bill Clinton said last year that Oslo's whaling
merited sanctions under U.S. law but stopped short of imposing
measures while Washington tried to work out a compromise with
Oslo.
    ``We've never seen any reason for this threat,'' said Owe.
``We have had a good amount of contact with the United States,
and we feel the likelihood of sanctions is less than last
year.''
    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a
moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1985, saying stocks of
species such as the giant blue whale were near extinction.
    Under the 1994 quotas, Norway's whalers will be able to
catch 189 minke whales in a commercial hunt and 112 in a
so-called research hunt.
    A date for the start of the commercial hunt has not been
set. Norway has so far killed 19 animals this year in the less
controversial research hunt, allowed under IWC rules.
    Norway says stocks of minke whales, a relatively small
species, have recovered to 86,700 animals in the north-east
Atlantic and can withstand limited harvesting.
    ``We'll intensify our campaign against whaling,'' said Geir
Wang-Andersen of Greenpeace. ``We'll probably focus on our
boycott work but we can't rule out actions against Norwegian
whalers.''
    Greenpeace said doubts about the strength of the minke whale
stock have grown since 1993 and that several scientists
questioned the accepted counting methods at the annual meeting
of the IWC in Mexico last month.
    According to Greenpeace estimates, Norway has lost export
contracts worth $70 million due to whaling. Whaling is estimated
to be worth about 50 million crowns ($7 million) to Norway's
economy.
    Environmentalists say that killing whales with exploding
harpoons is cruel and that Norway is setting a bad example for
other environmental causes demanding international cooperation
such as protecting rain forests.
    U.S. officials have said Washington would find it hard to
impose sanctions on NATO ally Norway for whaling -- especially
after Oslo last year helped broker the historic peace deal
between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
    Minke whales, a relatively small species, are eaten as
steaks or sausages in Norway.
    Steinar Bastesen, a representative of Norway's whalers, said
he was pleased the government had agreed to whaling for 1994 but
said the quota was too small.
    Owe said that, like last year, a fisheries inspector would
be aboard each whaling vessel to ensure that whales were killed
as quickly as possible. Whales hunted in 1993 died in a record
fast time of three minutes 33 seconds -- but one lived 55
minutes after being hit.