Whaling ban holds

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

TOKYO, Japan––The 47th annual meeting of
the International Whaling Commission concluded May 14
with the 1986 ban on commercial whaling still
intact––and Japan and Norway still threatening to follow
Iceland in quitting the treaty that holds the IWC together.
Norway has already announced that it will
resume commercial whaling this summer, risking trade
sanctions from the United States. Meanwhile, Norway
and Japan are already harpooning 100 and 300 minke
whales apiece per year for “research.” The rudimentary
research ends in each nation with the whale meat on
restaurant tables. Claiming that the Southern Hemisphere
minke whale population is up to 760,000 and out of dan-
ger, Japan wants to kill 2,000 a year. The Japanese gov-
ernment is also desperately worried that the IWC will
extend its authority from minkes, the smallest of the great
whales, to smaller cetaceans such as dolphins and porpois-
es. As with the great whales, some species of dolphins
and porpoises have been driven close to extinction by
aggressive huntiing, and public opinion in most of the
developed nations favors protecting them.

Japan, whose turn it was to host the IWC meet-
ing, had hoped to weaken the whaling ban by persuading
four tiny Caribbean nations––Dominica, Grenada, St.
Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines––to vote with
the Japanese and Norwegians as a bloc, apparently with
economic aid from Japan as an incentive although
Japanese IWC commissioner Kazuo Shima denied any
linkage. The extra votes were enough to delay a French
proposal that all waters south of 40 degrees latitude
should immediately become an international whale sanc-
tuary, and to win approval for a resolution recognizing
the effect of the whaling ban on Japanese coastal whalers.
However, street demonstrations and whale meat banquets
staged by the Japanese whaling industry with government
support failed to impress other IWC delegates, and were
met with counter-demonstrations by Japanese environ-
As the meeting got underway, the four-vessel
Norwegian “research” whaling fleet announced that after a
month at sea, it hadn’t managed to kill any whales at all
due to rough weather. A group of priests in coastal towns
began praying for them, and a week after the IWC meet-
ing, called upon counterparts in the U.S., England, and
Germany to tell their congregations that opposing whaling
is “in conflict with Christian thinking.”
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