Subject: Norway-Whaling (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Wed, 7 May 1997 10:12:32 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 6 May 97 11:59:00 GMT 
Subject: Norway-Whaling


   OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Norway opened its controversial whaling
season Friday with whalers going after an increased limit of 580
minke whales. One boat was sabotaged by activists and may have to
sit out the commercial hunt.
   Norway resumed commercial whaling in 1993 following a six-year
hiatus, despite international protests and a non-binding ban by the
International Whaling Commission.
   Norway's Fisheries Ministry argues that minke whales are not
endangered and that an uncontrolled population of the whales would
threaten valuable fish stocks. It has steadily increased annual
   The limit was raised from 425 minke whales to 580 for this year,
even though hunters took only 382 whales in 1996.
   One of the 34 authorized whaling boats was damaged by arson
Wednesday night. It was unclear if it could be repaired in time to
take part in the hunt, which ends July 21.
   The same boat, the "Senet," also was sabotaged in 1994. Paul
Watson, leader of the Sea Shepherd environmental group, was
convicted of the sabotage in absentia and sentenced to 120 days in
   Watson was seized in Amsterdam last month and is fighting
extradition to Norway, where he also faces charges of ramming a
naval vessel during a whaling protest.
   A previously unknown group called "Agenda 21" claimed
responsibility for Wednesday's fire.
   The Greenpeace environmental group, which opposes both whaling
and extremist tactics, denounced the sabotage.
   Because of tough ice conditions in the Arctic regions where the
hunt takes place, it is unlikely that many boats will start whaling
right away.
   A new feature of this year's hunt is that each boat can only
have an inspector on board for six weeks, effectively limiting
individual boats' hunting season to six weeks, even though the
season lasts closer to three months.