Subject: IWC: Whaling Conference, Makah tribe (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 13:08:07 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 21:15:10 -0700
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: Whaling Conference

Whaling Conference

 Associated Press Writer
   ABERDEEN, Scotland (AP) -- The United States today withdrew a
proposal for limited whaling rights for an American Indian tribe,
but said it would try again next year.
   The Makah tribe of Washington state, supported by the United
States, asked the International Whaling Commission meeting this
week to approve an annual five-whale quota to renew their ancient
whaling culture.
   The Makah request for an exemption from a worldwide moratorium
was in a special category that allows small kills by aboriginal
peoples for cultural and subsistence reasons.
   They were opposed by countries and animal rights observer groups
who questioned the tribe's need for whale as food and believed its
broken culture of whale hunting disqualifies it from the special
   The dispute became a major issue at the conference.
   "We remain convinced that the Makahs' demonstrated need for
this quota fits within the IWC definition of aboriginalsubsistence
whaling," said U.S. delegation chief D. James Baker.
   But he said a few commissioners had reservations, so the
delegation and Makah representatives jointly decided to defer the
request until next year.
   Earlier today, Japan lost its ninth consecutive attempt to win
approval for traditional whaling communities to kill 50 whales in
spite of a worldwide ban. The whaling commission rejected Japan's
perennial request by a vote of 16 to 8.
   Japan objects to the 1986 ban on commercial whaling and
campaigns for a return to hunting at a level that does not drive
whale populations dangerously low. It kills several hundred whales
each year under a provision that allows limited kills for
scientific research.
   Since the ban was imposed, Japan has sought the commission's
approval to allow the killing of 50 minke whales annually to
alleviate hardships of some north coastal communities.
   Some opponents, including the United States and New Zealand, say
the plan is commercial and is not acceptable.
   Some supporters, including such Caribbean nations as St. Lucia
and Antigua and Barbuda, say food from the sea is critically
important to the economic security of coastal communities, and if
safeguards against exploitation exist, Japan's needs should be
   New Zealand, one of the strongest opponents of whaling, said it
would never accept breaches of the moratorium and that the
commission should stop holding out false hopes to Japan.
   New Zealand negotiator J.K. McKlay, said he had visited one of
the Japanese communities in March and found it to be prosperous,
with a tourism industry.
   The source of the community's distress, he said, "was the
inability to continue a centuries old whaling tradition and pass
that tradition on to future generations."
   "Right around the world there are communities that have ceased
traditional practices for all sorts of conservation, cultural, and
other reasons," he said.
   Although there are 39 nations in the commission, they do not
always attend or vote. There were five abstentions on the Japanese