Michael Williamson (
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 13:09:34 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Mon, 1 Jul 96 11:33:00 UTC 0000


  Norway today walked out of the International Whaling Commission's annual
conference in Aberdeen.
   The protest came after the IWC passed a resolution ordering Norway to honour
the moratorium on global whaling, to clamp down on whalemeat smuggling and to
provide information about its stockpiles of meat and blubber.
   The Norwegian delegation returned to the conference later in the day.
   Another resolution passed today, the final day of the IWC's week-long
prohibited Norway from lifting a ban on exporting whale products.
   Norway, which opted out of the 1982 moratorium and has set a catch quota of
425 minke whales for this year, called the resolutions "an insult".
   Norway's commissioner at the conference Kare Bryn accused the IWC of acting
like a dictatorship.
   The resolution censuring Norway is passed by the IWC every year.
   The IWC moratorium set zero catch limits for all whaling nations with the
intention of resuming hunts once whales are no longer under threat of
   But anti-whaling nations who dominate the IWC have now shifted their stance
favour of outlawing whale hunting altogether.
   Norway and Japan, which both traditionally hunt and eat whales, accuse the
of breaking its treaty.
   The IWC permits "aboriginal whaling" by cultures with a long history of
whaling who rely on the meat for sustenance, but has opposed the Japanese and
Norwegian hunts because they are commercial.

   Labour MP Barry Sheerman tonight demanded EU sanctions against Norway.
   Mr Sheerman wrote to EU Commission President Jacques Santer: "Following the
walk-out from the International Whaling Conference of the Norwegian delegation,
and their refusal to conform to reasonable regulation for the hunting of
whales, I appeal to you immediately to discuss with your fellow Commissioners
the possibility of introducing a trade ban on all services and products traded
with Norway.
   "I understand that this would fully complement parallel moves to introduce a
consumer boycott on all Norwegian goods.
   "However, it is my belief that an enforceable EU trade ban would have
extremely decisive results," Huddersfield MP Mr Sheerman wrote.
   Meanwhile, Labour's animal welfare spokesman Elliot Morley demanded an end
the "maritime blood bath" of mass slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands.
   He said 433 Pilot Whales had been killed off the coast of Vestmannaeyjar
was "abhorrent" when the international conference was discussing the fragile
future of the whale.
   "It is a disgrace that the Faroese refuse to stop the kill, and it is an
affront to the majority of governments attending the conference in Aberdeen."
   He said more than 100 MPs had signed a Commons Early Day Motion calling for
the moratorium on commercial whaling to be extended for at least another 50
   He said the generations-old practice by the Faroese of rounding up schools
Pilot Whales and driving them into shallow bays to be killed was "messy,
bloody and totally inhumane", and could not be justified on the basis of the
islanders' need for food.
   The Faroe Islanders had been warned not to eat the whales more than twice a
month due to high levels of contaminants found in the meat, he added.
   He said Labour backed the petition from more than 30 international animal
welfare and conservation groups to EU Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Franz
Fischler, and the Faroes and Danish authorities, about the issue.