Subject: IWC: Whaling (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 14:33:59 -0400 (EDT)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 96 11:41:00 UTC 0000
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: Whaling

Whaling

By AUDREY WOODS
 Associated Press Writer
   ABERDEEN, Scotland (AP) -- The United States and Russia appealed
to international whaling regulators Tuesday to permit small whale
hunts by an American Indian tribe and the Chukotka people of
Russia's polar regions.
   Japan also is seeking permission to kill 50 minke whales in the
North Pacific this year to alleviate the hardship of some whaling
communities.
   Although the 39-member International Whaling Commission called a
worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, some indigenous
groups are allowed to kill a few whales for subsistence and
cultural reasons.
   "Whales are the central focus of our culture today, as they
have been since the beginning of time," said Marcy Parker, a
council member of the Makah tribe of the northwest Olympic
Peninsula.
   "Even though we haven't hunted the whale on the ocean in 70
years, we have hunted the whale in our hearts and in our minds."
   The United States is proposing a five-whale annual quota for the
Makahs. They want to hunt gray whale, which once were nearly
extinct but have recovered.
   Initial responses from countries including Japan, Norway and
France, indicated strong support for the U.S. proposal.
   But there was considerable doubt among some nations, including
Mexico and Australia. They question the Makahs' need for whale as
food -- especially given the tribe's broken history of whale
hunting.
   Mexico was concerned about what it called a "proliferation" of
requests for aboriginal quotas, and said countries might use them
to get around the moratorium, designed to protect dwindling
species.
   Nations will debate the U.S. proposal further, as well as a
separate request from Russia, before voting later in the
conference, which ends Friday.
   Russia asked for a five-whale catch for the indigenous Chukotka
people in northeastern Siberia, whose traditional religion reveres
whales.
   They want to kill bowheads, which are an endangered species.
Some commission members expressed reservations about the need,
although the United States and Japan have declared their support.
   The Chukotkas already have a quota of 140 gray whales.
   The Chukotkas experienced food shortages because of a decline in
reindeer. Whale meat has become important for nutrition, the
Chukotka representative, identified only as V. Etylin, told the
commission.
   Japan wants an "interim relief allocation" of 50 minke whales
in the North Pacific, which is in a separate category from
aboriginal whaling.
   U.S. officials oppose the Japanese request, saying it has a
commercial aspect.
   Japan was able to take more than 400 whales this year due to a
provision in the 10-year-old non-binding moratorium that allows
killing a limited number of the huge sea mammals for scientific
research.