Subject: Info: IWC/Whaling (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 14:30:05 -0400 (EDT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 96 11:31:00 UTC 0000
Subject: Whaling


 Associated Press Writer
   ABERDEEN, Scotland (AP) -- The United States said Monday it will
fight Japan's bid for a small-scale whale hunt, even though it
plans to back small hunts by native groups in the U.S. and Russia.
   "As long as there is a commercial aspect to the proposal we
would oppose it, along with the rest of the commission," U.S.
delegation leader D. James Baker said on the opening day of the
International Whaling Commission's annual conference.
   A non-binding worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling has
been in effect since 1986. The ban permits a limited number of
whales to be killed for scientific research.
   The Japanese killed more than 400 whales this year, saying the
killings were conducted in the course of research gauging whale
populations and migration, and despite international protest
continues to carry out kills in an Antarctic whale sanctuary
covering 8 million square miles.
   "We're concerned about the extent and expansion of research
whaling in the sanctuary," Baker said. "We have urged the
Japanese to try to do their research by non-lethal methods."
   Meat from whale kills can be sold. Whale meat is much in demand
in Japan, where it is considered a delicacy.
   Japanese whalers say the United States is overprotective toward
whales, and accuse it of being blind to the long Japanese
traditions of hunting and eating whale meat.
   Japan has asked the whaling commission to let it harvest 50
minke whales in the North Pacific this year to ease economic
hardship in several Japanese whaling communities.
   While rejecting the Japanese application, the U.S. government
supports a proposal by the Makah Indians of Washington's Olympic
Peninsula to kill five gray whales in the Pacific. It also backs a
Russian request on behalf of the far northern people of the
Chukotsk region, who want to take five bowhead whales.
   The commission allows some coastal indigenous people to kill a
few whales for subsistence, if whaling is part of their culture.
   Until about 70 years ago, Makahs hunted the gray whales that
migrate past their shores. The species, once nearly extinct, was
taken off the U.S. endangered species list in 1994.
   The United States will also support a bid by Britain and New
Zealand to ban the electric shock weapons Japan uses uses to kill
whales, Baker said.
   Along with Norway, Japan is one of the top two whale-hunting
countries in the world. Norway opposed the whaling moratorium and
resumed its commercial hunt in 1993. Although it takes far fewer
whales than its 1970s level of about 1,800 annually, Norway's
position has angered whale hunting opponents.
   This year, Norway raised its quota of minke whales from 232 to
425, insisting there are enough minkes to support that scale of
   Norway says its policy had been vindicated by the commission's
scientific committee, which approved a minke population estimate of
   The minkes, like gray whales, have made a strong comeback since
the moratorium, Baker said.
   "We're concerned about a resumption of commercial whaling
worldwide because we think it would have a drastic effect on whale
stocks," he said.