Subject: Case Study:Condemnation of Canadian Bowhead Hunt May Impact Makah Gray Whale Hunt (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Thu, 13 Feb 1997 09:50:55 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1997 21:18:56 -0800
From: "Michael Kundu,              ARCTURUS Adventure Communications"
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: Condemnation of Canadian Bowhead Hunt May Impact Makah Gray Whale              Hunt

Feb. 11, 1997 -- The Clinton Administration expressed outrage today at
Canada's decision to permit the killing of a highly endangered eastern
arctic bowhead whale this past August.  Yet in criticising the Canadian
government, Clinton did not take the additional, necessary steps to impose
sanctions against the import of Canadian fisheries products, as mandated
under the 1979 Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967.
This option was made available to Clinton after US Commerce Secretary Mickey
Kantor certified Canada under the Pelly Amendment in December of 1996, for
endangering world whale conservation and protection efforts.  The eastern
arctic bowhead population (Baffin Bay/Davis Strait) from which this whale is
said to have been taken is estimated to lie between 300- 400 animals.  This
stock is not known to be recovering.

Although Clinton's letter will do little to dissuade further issuance of
eastern Arctic bowhead permits by the Canadian government, Clinton's letter
to Congress may have a profound impact on domestic US aboriginal whaling
policies.  As quoted, Clinton states that..., "I support aboriginal whaling
that is managed through the IWC."

There is wide speculation that the Makah tribe of Washington State, USA, who
have unsuccessfully petitioned the IWC for a gray whale quota in 1996, will
begin to kill whales illegally, if they are declined a quota in 1997.  In
light of the Clinton Administrations' recent letter, it is expected that the
US government, in order to retain international credibility, must than take
the appropriate disciplinary actions to protect gray whales domestically, if
the Makah proceed with a gray whale hunt outside of IWC rule.  This would
also be the case if a Makah hunt were to begin prior to the IWC meeting in
October 1997.  In condemning the Canadian government for this bowhead take,
the Clinton Administration may have inadvertently forced itself to write a
policy of mandatory enforcement, should the Makah tribe kill a gray whale
without IWC approval.

Michael Kundu, Pacific Northwest Coordinator
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society