Subject: Case Study: Norway and Minke Whaling

Michael Williamson (
Tue, 7 May 1996 12:10:17 -0400 (EDT)

Why would the stocks of Minke whales increase?
Should hunting be allowed if the stocks increased?
What if reducing the stocks of Minkes helped other stocks to recover?
Why would reducing Minkes stocks help other species to increase?
What should be/could be done in this situation?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 7 May 96 11:42:00 UTC 0000
Subject: Green groups press U.S. to blo

Green groups press U.S. to block Norway whaling

    By Sonali Paul
     WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuter) - Wildlife groups are urging the
Clinton administration to pressure Norway to cut its whale hunt
targets for this year, environmentalists said on Monday.
     But Norwegian officials said their hunts should not harm the
minke whale population because it was growing in the
northeastern Atlantic Ocean.
     "With such a big stock, this really takes the heat out of
the issue," said Norway's acting ambassador to the United
States, Karsten Klepsvik. "We almost take nothing of it."
     Norway this weekend said it would allow fishermen to catch
up to 425 minke whales in the northeast Atlantic this summer,
almost double last year's catch, he said.
     Expecting the high quota, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund,
and the Centre for Marine Conservation said they hoped the White
House would act before the hunt began on May 21.
     "We are writing to urge you to use all diplomatic efforts,
including ... sanctions, to dissuade Norway from starting their
defiant commercial whale hunt," the three groups said in a May
3 letter to Assistant Secretary of State Tim Wirth.
     Klepsvik defended the increase in the whale kill quota,
saying it was a conservative hike, based on a sharply higher
estimate of the northeast Atlantic minke whale population.
     A panel of International Whaling Commission (IWC) scientists
pegged the stock at 112,000 this year compared with Norway's
estimate of 75,000 last year, he said.
     Norway last year reduced its hunt target from 301 to 232
after the committee forced it to lower its population estimate
from 85,000 to 75,000.
     The U.S. Commerce Department declined to comment on Norway's
new target.
     "We've heard that the estimate of minke whale abundance is
somewhere bewteen 110 and 120,000," a department spokesman
said. "We'll have to evaluate the data before we are able to
comment on the announced catch limit."
     Earlier this year, responding to an official protest by the
Commerce Department that Japan was undercutting efforts to
protect whales, the White House announced it would pressure
Japan at high levels to curb its lethal whale research.
     Richard Mott, vice president of World Wildlife Fund, said in
this election year, environmentalists were looking for the White
House to be consistent on the whaling issue.
     "They know if they're getting serious with Japan, they
can't take a pass on this (with Norway)," he said.