Oceans

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1993:

The International Whaling Commission commenced
its annual meeting in Kyoto, Japan, on April 19 as a throng of
1,000 demonstrators marched outside to demand an end to the cur-
rent global whaling ban, in effect since 1986. The IWC scientific
committee met during the last week of April to review current data
on whale populations, while the general commission meeting is
set for May 10-14. Japanese whalers, who already kill 300 minke
whales a year under the auspices of a government research pro-
gram, want to resume whaling on a commercial scale. Iceland has
already resumed commercial whaling, after qutting the IWC.

Norway has announced it will resume commercial whaling, but
has not specified when, perhaps because film director Richard
Donner recently threatened to organize an international boycott of
the 1994 Winter Olympics if it does. The Winter Olympics are
scheduled to be held in Lillehammer, Norway, next February.
Norway did dispatch whaling vessels on April 13 to kill 136 minke
whales for a “research” project similar to Japan’s.
Three leading fisheries biologists argued in the April 2
issue of Science that there may be no such thing as a “sustainable
yield” of ocean-dwelling fish because the marine ecology is too
complex to permit accurate predictions of the fish population from
one year to the next. For instance, depending upon the average age
of Alaskan salmon in the ocean, the number who must spawn in
any given year to maintain the population level may be anywhere
from one million to 15 million. Current statistics from the Atlantic
coast further demonstrate the lack of predictability: the cod catch
from Georges Bank, off Maine, dropped from 63,000 metric tons
in 1982 to 29,000 in 1992, but the total Maine catch last year was
the biggest since 1982, up 12% from 1991.
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