Subject: Info: South African whales said safe (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Sun, 9 Jun 1996 15:09:38 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Sat, 8 Jun 96 13:38:00 UTC 0000
Subject: South African whales said safe

South African whales said safe from policy review

    By Brendan Boyle
     CAPE TOWN, June 6 (Reuter) - South African Environment
Minister Dawie de Villiers affirmed on Thursday that whales
would be safe along the country's coast, even though a
government review of its opposition to whaling was under way.
     De Villiers told the Senate in Cape Town that South African
support for the International Whaling Commission's (IWC)
comprehensive ban on whaling would be reexamined as part of an
overall review of fisheries policy.
     But he said South Africa was aware of the benefits to
tourism of the southern right whales that visit the coast from
June to November each year, and "will take no action that will
threaten the wellbeing of this precious inheritance."
     South Africa has not hunted whales for over 30 years.
     "Given the long history of international
would not only be inconsistent, but also foolish to reverse the
current situation whereby all whales are afforded full
protection in South African waters," said de Villiers.
     The first word of the South African review came in a policy
document sent to a limited number of environmentalists and
officials proposing a low profile at the next IWC meeting
pending a review of its support of an international whaling ban.
     "It is proposed that South Africa should retain its
independent spirit in order to protect South Africa's interests
and should use its influence to combat extremism in favour of
non-whaling," South African IWC commissioner and Department of
Sea Fisheries director Guillaume de Villiers said in the paper.
     He told Reuters, however, that while South Africa might
reexamine its policy on the sustainable use of prolific whale
species elsewhere, it would not consider whaling off its own
shores or in the southern ocean whale sanctuary.
     The environment minister, who is no relation, said on
Thursday that South Africa was reviewing many of the policies
inherited from the white minority government in 1994.
     "It is only fair and natural that government should be
afforded an opportunity to review past policies also in regard
(to whaling) and in the light of the proposed new national
fisheries policy," he added.
     De Villiers is one of six National Party ministers who will
relinquish their portfolios at the end of the month, when their
white-led party quits President Nelson Mandela's transitional
government of national unity.
     Pallo Jordan, a member of Mandela's African National
Congress, will take over the environment and tourism portfolio.