Subject: Whaling:Japan, Norway hint at defeat o (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 14 Jun 1997 22:26:02 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 12 Jun 97 11:28:00 GMT 
Subject: Japan, Norway hint at defeat o

Japan, Norway hint at defeat over whale catches

    By Emelia Sithole
     HARARE, June 11 (Reuter) - Japan and Norway said on
Wednesday they were unlikely to win majority support for at a
world convention on endangered species in Harare for their
contentious proposal to resume catching minke whales.
     They accused the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES) of automatically adopting measures to
protect whales taken by the International Whaling Commission
(IWC), which they alleged had been hijacked by some leading
environmental groups with undue political influence.
     All great whales, except for the West Greenland stock of
minke whale, are listed on CITES' Appendix 1 which bans trade in
endangered species. The CITES listing followed the IWC
moratorium on commercial whaling which came into effect in 1986.
     "I don't think we can get this time the two-thirds majority
support (from the 139-member CITES). Maybe we can get 10 percent
of that," said Masayuki Komatsu, senior deputy director of
Japan's Far Seas division and Oceanic Fisheries department.
     "It's impossible to win resumption of whaling for as long
as CITES continues basing its decisions on that of the IWC,"
Komatsu told Reuters on the sidelines of the 10-day CITES
meeting which started on Monday.
     "We have a dilemma in achieving our goals in the IWC
because it's now a body occupied by environmental groups which
deny any sustainable use of natural resources," he added.
     Peter Schei, head of the Norwegian delegation, backing a
proposal by Japan to redefine its relationship with the IWC,
said CITES needed to develop its own scientific committee to
deal with whale trading and reduce its dependence on the IWC.
     "We shouldn't link ourselves to political actions of
another organisation which are not scientifically based," Schei
     The Japanese proposal to delink CITES from the IWC is
meeting stiff opposition from some leading environmental groups,
notably the U.S.-based International Fund for Animal Welfare,
Amsterdam- based Greenpeace and British-based TRAFFIC (Trade
Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce).
     The Japanese and Norwegian proposal to allow commercial
whaling is one of the top issues at the CITES meeting at which a
bid by three southern African states to allow ivory sales has
taken centre stage.