Newsletter - Animal Writes © sm
9 August 2000 Issue

Japan - U.S. Whaling Dispute Simmers
Ocean Defense International
PO Box 401
Williams, OR. 97544
Source: [email protected] (Dan Spomer)

August 7, 2000 - Anti-whaling nations such as the United States are becoming increasingly dissatisfied over the Japanese government's decision to broaden the range of whales it catches for research purposes from this fiscal year.

When U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met Foreign Minister Yohei Kono late last month, she hinted at the United States imposing sanctions on Japan and called for a halt to Tokyo's so-called experimental whaling.

Some fear the issue may trigger a new conflict between the two nations.

According to the Fisheries Agency, Japan will catch 10 sperm whales and 50 Bryde's whales in addition to the 100 minke whales that it has been catching for research purposes in the northwestern Pacific Ocean for the last six years.

It will be the first time in 13 years that sperm and Bryde's whales have been caught. Six whaling vessels left for the Pacific on July 29.

The agency expanded the types of whales to be caught after fishing industry experts pointed out that sperm whale numbers had increased and supplies of the fish that they feed on had fallen as a result.

The agency decided to expand the range of whales to be caught to conduct research on the whale's habitat, assist the nation's fishing industry by estimating the numbers of each type of whale in the Sea of Japan and neighboring areas, and conduct general research on the ecosystem of whales.

The United States and Europe oppose this policy and have expressed serious concern over the matter.

According to the Foreign Ministry, after Japan reported its plan to expand research-purpose whaling in mid-April to the International Whaling Commission, several countries protested that Japan should never be allowed to expand its whaling practices. In particular, people in the United States are strongly opposed to hunting sperm whales -- the same kind of whale that was featured in U.S. author Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick."

Copyright 2000 The Yomiuri Shimbun


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. senator urged President Bill Clinton on Wednesday to consider imposing sanctions against Japan to protest a hotly contested whale hunt in the north Pacific. Despite opposition from President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and leading environmental groups, a Japanese whaling fleet set out last weekend to hunt large sperm and Bryde's whales, two species protected under U.S. law. The Japanese already hunt the minke whale.

"It seems clear that Japan is testing the resolve of our opposition. And it seems just as clear that we must respond authoritatively," said Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Government Affairs Committee. "Given the threat to the sperm, minke and Bryde's whales, I urge President Clinton to closely examine the sanctions available under U.S. law if Japan continues to ignore international standards," Lieberman added in a statement. U.S. officials said the Clinton administration could impose trade sanctions against Japanese fishery products and other goods, though they stressed that a number of other options were available.

Japan gave up commercial whaling in compliance with an international moratorium in 1986 but has engaged in research whaling since 1987. The practice has drawn fire from the World Wildlife Fund and anti-whaling nations, who see Japanese research as an end-run around the moratorium because the flesh ends up in the market for human consumption. Japan is the largest consumer of whale meat in the world. Under U.S. law, the Secretary of Commerce will review Japanese actions and make recommendations to the president, who could then impose trade sanctions or other retaliatory measures on Japan.



PAWS Advocacy Director Will Anderson recently returned from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting and explained that the Japanese government's disregard for public opinion regarding whaling is due in large part to the U.S government position on Makah whaling. Over the objections of many IWC commissioners, the Clinton Administration forced through a Makah grey whale quota by sidestepping normal IWC criteria and procedures. The Makah aboriginal request fails the subsistence needs test and created the new category of cultural whaling. Japan and many other countries have long wanted to initiate their own cultural whaling plans and are now able to do it as a result. "Regulated" global commercial whaling is likely to resume beginning with the IWC 2002 meeting in Japan. For questions or more information, please contact Will Anderson at (425) 787-2500 x811 or [email protected]


ODI Condemns Japanese Whale Hunt

Less than one month after being shot down by the International Whaling Commission in their bid to expand their “scientific whaling”, Japan’s whaling fleet is now headed to the Northern Pacific to hunt sperm and Bryde’s whales. Japan continues to defy international law and continues commercial whaling despite the moratorium.

“Ocean Defense International condemns this illegal hunt and feels the United States and the United Kingdom should not only threaten sanctions but should send military forces to stop the fleet,” ODI president Jonathan Paul stated today.

Most species of whales were brought to near extinction by humans hunting them until the moratorium went into effect in 1986. Japan and Norway continue to hunt whales despite the moratorium. Despite the alarming rate of strandings and populations of a number of species of whales on the decrease, whaling countries have been pushing hard to lift the moratorium, including giving financial aid to small-island nations to obtain votes in both CITIES and IWC meetings.

“We are very concerned about the condition of ocean eco-systems and with the precarious condition of all whale species,” Paul stated. “Furthermore, many countries are backing the Revised Management Scheme (RMS) to allow commercial whaling, including the United States with the blessing of Al Gore. Gore’s camp claims the RMS will regulate whaling and less whales will be killed. Yet the moratorium currently in effect has not stopped Japan and Norway. How can we control regulated whaling when we cannot even control a total ban on whaling?”

ODI has been opposing the Makah whale hunt since the fall of 1998 with its fleet of coastal boats. ODI has asserted that this hunt will open the door to commercial whaling around the globe and it seems that this is just around the corner.

“If the governments around the world cannot enforce the law involving the illegal take of whales, I guess we are going to have to do it ourselves,” Paul said. “We are in the process of obtaining a ship to do this. We are in the next great mass extinction on the planet. Our goals are to have a global moratorium and a world ocean sanctuary for all whales, dolphins and other marine species.”

Ocean Defense International
PO Box 401
Williams, OR. 97544
Source: [email protected] (Dan Spomer)

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