From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1994:

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico––The world will
know by the time you read this whether U.S. president Bill
Clinton sold out whales to sell $625 million worth of missiles to
Norway. As ANIMAL PEOPLEwent to press, Greenpeace and
the World Wildlife Fund, goaded by Friends of Animals, were
applying last-minute leverage to head off the apparent
sellout––including joint protest on May 17 in front of the White
House, a WWF first, while Clinton and vice president Albert
Gore met with Norwegian prime minister Gro Brundtland inside.
The proposed creation of an Antarctic whale refuge and
the resumption of commercial whaling head the agenda for the
46th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission
(IWC), commencing on May 23. As every year since 1982,
when the IWC decreed the moratorium on commercial whaling in
effect since 1986, Japan and Norway will push to break the
moratorium. As last year, Japan and Norway will also fight the
creation of the sanctuary, seeking the help of Antigua-and-
Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent-and-
the-Grenadines, four tiny Caribbean nations heavily dependent
upon Japanese foreign aid, whose votes were decisive in 1993.

The moratorium cannot be broken without the approval
of three-fourths of the 39 IWC member nations. Last year the
pro-whaling nations were turned back 18-6, with 13 abstentions.
But likewise the French-proposed Southern Whale Sanctuary, as
the Antarctic refuge is officially called, cannot be created with-
out three-fourths approval. The refuge proposal has 12 co-spon-
sors, including Australia and New Zealand, two of the six
nations whose waters would be most affected.
“We’re pretty sure of 18 or 19 votes,” said Antarctic
specialist Cassandra Phillips of the World Wildlife Fund, “and
another four or five look good.” Twenty-one votes will prob-
ably be needed for passage. Chile and Argentina do not
oppose the sanctuary, but want the northern boundary to be at
the 60th parallel rather than the 40th, which would cut the
protected waters in half, while South Africa, an abstention
last year, has a new government, and, prodded by the Green
group Earthlife Africa, may now join the refuge supporters.
Even so, the refuge supporters are scrambling to avoid an
impasse, which Japan and Norway hope to exploit in a trade-
off: refuge for resumed commercial whaling.
Keeping everyone guessing, CANA radio of
Dominica on May 14 reported that according to the
Dominican trade minister, Dominica would break with Japan
and Norway to cast the apparent deciding vote for the refuge.
Soon afterward, said Steve Best of the International Wildlife
Coalition, the Dominican whaling commissioner called the
station to refute the story and say that the Dominican decision
would be based on science,” meaning the position of the
IWC Scientific
Committee––which is advancing a Revised Management Plan,
a key component of a Revised Management Scheme that
would start the process of establishing whaling quotas.
“We have also received an unconfirmed report that
Antigua-and-Barbuda have declared that they will be support-
ing the sanctuary,” Best added. Their positions were still
uncertain after the first day of the five-day meeting.
Renewed Massacre Plan?
The International Wildlife Coalition had threatened
all five Caribbean nations with tourism boycotts––supported
in St. Lucia by the National Trust, a conservation group, and
the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association. But the boy-
cotts,though widely endorsed, weren’t expected to be enough
by themselves to overcome the seduction of aid dollars. That
the Caribbean nations might be shifting to support the refuge
was generally taken as a hint that the Clinton administration
had cut a deal with Norway and Japan.
Explained Craig Van Nolte of Monitor, a
Washington D.C.-based briefing service for animal and habi-
tat protection lobbyists, “At a meeting of whaling commis-
sioners from ‘conservation-minded’ countries in London dur-
ing the week of April 18, the U.S. proposed that the RMP be
adopted ‘provisionally.’ Heavy lobbying by the highest levels
of the governments of Norway and Japan persuaded the
Clinton/Gore administration and the German government to
help adopt the RMP, which is the first step toward overturn-
ing the indefinite ban on commercial whaling. The U.S.,” he
added, “which last year led the successful battle to block
adoption of the deeply flawed RMP proposal, is abandoning
its criticism. Vice president Al Gore, who wants U.S. whal-
ing policy to be ‘science-based,’ is studiously ignoring strong
criticisms made last year by a panel of independent scientists
[the United States Marine Mammal Commission] hired by the
administration to assess the RMP. The peer review found that
the RMP was overly simplistic, lacked a sound data base,
and needs far more testing.”
The RMP would permit whalers to kill one half of
one percent of any species of whale determined by “scientific”
means to be at historic population levels. Most vulnerable
would be minke whales, the smallest of the baleen whales,
already targeted by the Japanese and Norwegians for “scien-
tific” hunts. Japan wants a quota of 4,000, while Norway
wants 2,000. According to the official estimates, there are
now from 600,000 to 760,000 minke whales in the Antarctic
and 86,000 to 114,000 in the North Atlantic. (Neither popula-
tion crosses the equator.) This is presumed to be more than
the guesstimated historic level of 490,000.
Norway killed 296 minke whales last year––160 for
so-called scientific study and 136 as part of a commercial hunt
undertaken in defiance of the moratorium, after which at
least some of the meat was illegally sold to Japan and South
Korea. Norway plans to kill another 127 for “science” this
year. Norwegian commercial whaling is expected to continue
as well. In March, Brundtland indicated Norway would abide
by international whaling regulations as part of the price of
admission to the European Community, but at her May 17
meeting with Clinton and Gore, she insisted Norwegian com-
mercial whaling is legal because, according to her, it all
takes place within Norwegian territorial waters.
Japan has killed 300 minke whales a year “for sci-
ence” since 1987. Japan told the IWC on May 3 that it
intends to kill 400 this year: 300 below the equator, includ-
ing in Antarctic waters, and 100 above the equator, the first
legal whaling in northern waters since 1986 (although Japan
did not actually comply with the moratorium until 1988).
Under the RMP, gray whales could also soon
become vulnerable. Protected by various treaties since 1935,
gray whales now number about 18,000, just under the pre-
sumed historic level of 20,000.
As Best explains, the official estimates are still little
more than guesswork: counting whales seen and multiplying
by whatever seems to make sense. No one really knows what
whale populations once were. There is also reason to believe
that minke numbers will naturally drop as the larger baleen
whales––the blue whale, the fin whale, and the right whale,
among others––gradually recover from the verge of extinction
to claim ever greater shares of krill and plankton.
But krill and plankton are also depleted––both by
Japanese and Southeast Asian seiners seeking the staples of
the whale diet for use as pig feed, and by increased ultraviolet
radiation hitting southern waters as result of atmospheric
ozone depletion.
Specified an executive summary distributed by the
London-based Environmental Investigative Agency, “Under
the RMP, commercially hunted whale populations would not
receive protection until it was proved that they had declined to
54% of their pre-hunt level…The IWC and its Scientific
Committee have failed to take adequate account of the degra-
dation of the marine and atmospheric environments, and the
potentially catastrophic effects on marine ecosystems.” An
EIA study to be presented to the IWC argues that whales and
dolphins will be extinct within a century due to pollution and
overfishing––a direct threat to toothed whales, who eat fish.
Further, the EIA charged, “Dramatic revelations of
widespread falsification whaling data by the Soviet Union,”
which is now known to have killed from 10 to 30 times more
whales than it admitted during the 1960s and 1970s, “raises
serious doubts about current whale populations. To truly
ascertain the global effects of such deceptive practices,” the
EIA said, “all historical and catch records from whaling
countries must be verified and the discrepancies reconciled,
thus placing the burden of proof on whalers––not whales.”
Cover for whale-poaching
Finally, warned EIA executive director Dave
Currey in a May 5 open letter, “The RMP will provide a legal
whale meat market in Japan, which will give cover to an
increased illegal slaughter.”
Concluded Van Nolte, “The spin-controllers in the
Clinton/Gore administration hope that the proposed whale
sanctuary around Antarctica will be adopted by the IWC to
lessen the impact of resumed commercial whaling elsewhere.”
Fear of poaching rose on May 17 when Japanese
prime minister Tsutomu Hata rejected an International Fund
for Animal Welfare appeal to refrain from “scientific” whaling
within the proposed refuge. One day later Hata asked the
IWC to exempt minke whales from protection. Greenpeace
meanwhile circulated photographs of a butchered sperm whale
found near the Japanese whaling port of Shimonsoseki on
December 29, 1993. The Taipei-based Green Consumer
Foundation revealed that a Taiwanese company using foreign
ships has hauled whale meat of unknown origin to Japan for
12 years––although Taiwan banned whaling and whale meat
exports in 1981. Most tellingly, Earthtrust presented the
IWC with a mitochondrial DNA analysis of purported minke
whale meat purchased last year in Japanese supermarkets.
The sales were videotaped. The DNA analysis was done by
noted molecular biologists C. Scott Baker, of New Zealand,
and Steve Palumbi, of the University of Hawaii, who were
co-funded by the National Science Foundation.
“Among 16 samples of meat that were successfully
sequenced,” Don White of Earthtrust announced, “eight were
minke, four were fin whale, one was humpback mixed with
minke, two were dolphins, and one was intermediate
between sperm whale and harbor porpoise.
Fuller opposes Gore
When the U.S. finally introduced a resolution in
support of the RMP, cosponsors included Australia, Finland,
Germany, and Switzerland. The resolution asked the IWC to
adopt the RMP as “draft specifications for the calculation of
catch limits,” and to reaffirm “its agreement that commercial
whaling shall only be permitted for populations in areas and
seasons for which catch limits are in force…in conformity
with all the provisions of the Revised Management Scheme.”
Provisions “required to complete the RMS,” the resolution
continued, “include agreement upon: minimum data stan-
dards; guidelines for conducting surveys and analyzing the
results; a fully effective inspection and observation scheme;
(and) arrangements to ensure that the total catches over time
are within the limits.”
But Clinton and Gore didn’t get support from
Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, where they had
expected to find it. Wrote U.S. WWF president Kathryn
Fuller to Gore on May 12, “It is critically important that the
Commission continue the worldwide moratorium on commer-
cial whaling. In our view, commercial whaling is neither sus-
tainable nor justifiable. Even if commercial whaling could be
sustainable, it cannot be justified. Whaling is conducted by
wealthy countries to provide expensive meat for a luxury mar-
ket. There is no issue of providing basic needs to impover-
ished human communities. There is no conservation benefit.
In my view,” she affirmed, “to traffic in whales under these
circumstances is simply wrong. For these reasons, WWF
strongly opposes any action, including further work on the
Revised Management Procedure or the Revised Management
Scheme, that could constitute a first step toward the resump-
tion of commercial whaling. And for these reasons, we are
also concerned to hear that the U.S. might seek to accommo-
date Norway’s continued hunting of minke whales in defiance
of the IWC moratorium.” Fuller concluded with a handwritten
note emphasizing her personal concern.
Fuller wrote 18 days after London Observer reporter
Polly Ghazi charged that WWF, Greenpeace, and IFAW had
agreed with the Clinton administration to trade the principle
that whales should not be hunted for leverage toward securing
the Antarctic refuge. Ghazi’s expose was supported by a 13-
page internal memo to the Greenpeace Whale Team, signed
by seven Greenpeace executives: Peter Pueschel, Isabel
McCrea, John Frizell, Leslie Busby, Arni Finnsson, Juan
Carlos Cardenas, and the memo author, Clif Curtis.
Greenpeace, IFAW shocker
The memo outlined Greenpeace strategy for obtain-
ing the Southern Whale Sanctuary in detail––including what
Greenpeace was apparently willing to trade for it. Most con-
troversially, the memo stated, “Greenpeace will not stand in
the way of the RMP’s ‘provisional’ adoption in its most con-
servative form, as long as a clear commitment is shown to
addressing and incorporating a number of important posi-
tions,” pertaining to the scientific disputes.
A page later came the real shocker: “Greenpeace
does not oppose whaling, in principle,” followed in the next
paragraph by the declaration that, “Greenpeace is neither for
nor against the killing of marine mammals.”
Receiving the memo April 26, ANIMAL PEOPLE
quickly obtained corroborating statements from both WWF
and Vassili Papastavrov of IFAW, who provided a 13-page
rationale for adopting the RMP along with a two-page defense
of the IFAW position by the organization’s scientific advisor,
Sidney J. Holt––a member of the IWC Scientific Committee .
On April 26, meanwhile, Greenpeace media group
executive Desley Mather issued a damage control memoran-
dum to staff, updated April 28. “From a media strategy point
of view,” Mather instructed, “the message should be clear
and simple, i.e. Greenpeace continues to oppose commercial
whaling whenever and wherever it occurs [and] urgently calls
for the establishment of a whale sanctuary in Antarctica. You
should not be drawn into answering supplementary questions
on the technical issues,” namely the RMP, she advised,
“unless you are absolutely clear on the Greenpeace position.”
Staff were ordered to refer questions “from informed journal-
ists who have a detailed knowledge of the technical issues” to
Pueschel, Curtis, Frizell, and/or Busby.
The references to not opposing whaling in principle,
Mather said, had to do with indigenous subsistence whaling,
not mentioned in the March 29 document. The RMP could be
accepted, Mather reiterated, because actual implementation
might be indefinitely delayed. While other sources including
wildlife officer Helen McLachan of the Royal SPCA predict-
ed at most a two-year lag between the adoption of the RMP
and the resumption of legal commercial whaling, Greenpeace
claimed the lag could be as long as 50 years.
On May 6, Greenpeace grabbed international media
attention by using a crane to lower a model of a bloodied,
harpooned whale into the garden of the Norwegian embassy in
Rome, Italy. The stunt reaffirmed the Greenpeace image
without clarifying the Greenpeace position.
The IFAW and WWF statements closely resembled
the March 29 Greenpeace memo. All three agreed that win-
ning the Southern Whale Sanctuary, not maintaining the
whaling moratorium, would be their first objective.
If the refuge is declared according to plan, the pro-
tected waters would extend north to the 40th parallel, south
latitude. This would purportedly protect up to 90% of all
baleen whales up to 90% of the time. The territorial waters of
other non-whaling nations would protect most whales the rest
of the time––if their governments didn’t opt to allow whaling.
The RMP, meanwhile, as IFAW was quick to point
out, does provide a more conservative means of estimating
whale numbers and setting whaling quotas than the New
Management Scheme the IWC used prior to the whaling
moratorium. The NMS is technically still in effect. Thus
replacing it with the RMP could be considered a gain of
sorts––if one was to accept the loss of the moratorium.
Clinton nukes the whales
The major flaw in the RMP and RMS, as Humane
Society of the U.S executive vice president Patty Forkan
argued, is that “There is no international police force, no will
to self-enforce, and the IWC has no adequate enforcement
mechanism.” Whaling rules can only be enforced by trade
sanctions imposed by the governments of member nations,
whose economic interests may outweigh concern for whales.
For instance, on October 3, 1993, Clinton acknowledged
that Norway killed whales illegally last summer, and that
trade sanctions were warranted. Yet, with the Winter
Olympics coming in Lillehammer, and the opportunity to
pressure Norway never better, Clinton held off.
Publishing excerpts from the leaked transcript of a
September 29, 1993 discussion between Gore and his “good
friend” Brundtland in a full-page ad in the May 16 New York
Times, the Animal Welfare Institute suggested Brundtland
had “dictated a reversal of two decades of U.S anti-whaling
policy” by “hiring the powerful, influence-peddling law firm
Akin, Gump, Strausss, Hamer, and Feld” to lobby for
Norwegian whalers at $500,000 a year. “The senior partner at
Akin Gump is Robert Strauss, former head of the Democratic
National Committee,” the ad explained.
The AWI ad was placed just days before the actual
source of the Norwegian leverage became clear. On May 13,
too late for AWI to amend the ad, the Pentagon told Congress
it had negotiated a deal to sell Norway $625 million worth of
air-to-air missiles made by the financially struggling Raytheon
Corporation and Hughes Aircraft, a division of General
Motors. The sale would bail out two major defense contrac-
tors with plants based in Democratic districts, on the eve of
Congressional elections. It also would wipe out the U.S. trade
deficit with Norway. U.S. exports to Norway were previously
worth about $1.25 billion a year; imports from Norway were
worth $1.85 billion, including $700 million worth of oil.
Gore and Brundtland discussed missiles last
September––obliquely, because the negotiations were then
top secret and highly sensitive, due to simultaneous disarma-
ment discussions with former member states of the USSR.
“We do feel bullied, even by you simply evaluating
the use of sanctions, and especially after several nations in
the IWC have tried to change the organization from a whaling
monitoring mission to a forum to ban whaling outright,”
Brundtland told Gore, according to a White House transcript.
Responded Gore, “Again, as in arms control nego-
tiations, there are those who attempt to exploit undertainty for
their own ends. This strengthens my argument for the need of
a scheme that will allow resumption while removing the basis
of suspicion that the RMS will be violated.”
By May 17, with the missile deal almost in hand,
and having received at least 30,000 messages of protest
against whaling, Clinton was ready to dance a little sidestep.
“Most mainstream environment groups have not joined these
rather extreme claims,” he said, protesting that he was not
selling out whales. “Give us a chance to work through this. I
have confidence that we will be able to work through it.”
White House environmental office director Katie
McGinty said the administration would “oppose adopting the
so-called Revised Management Procedure,” but “will back
the scientific underpinnings of that plan and point out areas
where more work is needed.”
Norwegian friends
Brundtland was not helped by some leading
Norwegian media, whose criticism began February 2 after the
broadcast of a Swedish documentary on how the sealers and
the Norwegian government harassed and censored former
government sealing inspector Odd Lindberg, who took film
of men bludgeoning baby harp seals in front of their mothers
to mass media in 1990. Lindberg acted after the Norwegian
government refused to enforce a law that forbids killing young
seals in front of their mothers. Rebroadcast all over Europe,
the documentary prompted a closer look at Norwegian marine
mammal policies in general.
On April 30 the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet
linked Norwegian whaling spokesman Steiner Bastesen to a
foiled attempt to smuggle whale meat to Japan last October.
The one suspect arrested in the case works for Bastesen, who
denies knowing him. Bastesen has funded a series of anti-
Greenpeace documentaries produced by Magnus
Gundmundsson of Iceland. Already sued by Greenpeace for
defamation in Norway, Britain, and New Zealand,
Gundmunsson may soon be sued again, Greenpeace says, for
new allegations recently made in Brazil.
Next, on May 3, investigative reporter Jan Gunnar
Funruly published an interview with IWC Scientific
Committee member Justin Cooke, of Britain, who explained
how Norway used dubious math to estimate there are 87,000
minke whales in Norwegian coastal waters when a more accu-
rate guess would be 50,000.
Finally, May 11, the leading Norwegian newspaper
Vergens Gang revealed links between Norwegian whalers and
right-wing extremists, including an open alliance between
Bastesen and Ron Arnold of the American Freedom Coalition,
a front group for Sun Myung Moon and his Unified Family
relgious cult, best known as the coordinating hub of the so-
called Wise Use Movement. Also among the whalers’ allies
are the Schiller Institute and 21st Century & Technology mag-
azine, two projects of Lyndon LaRouche, a Ku Klux Klan
associate whose European Labor Party is suspected of
involvement in the 1986 assassination of Swedish prime min-
ister Olaf Palme. LaRouche, 71, recently was released from
U.S. federal prison after serving five years of a 15-year sen-
tence on 12 counts of fraud, involving more than $30 million
worth of defaulted loans and unpaid taxes.
Cutting a deal
The U.S. imports $97 billion worth of goods from
Japan each year, while selling Japan $48 billion worth––and
has a $130 billion trade deficit with Japan, the subject of
intense negotiations just before the IWC meeting. Thus for
Gore, head of the U.S. delegation, the main goal in Puerto
Vallarta will be to keep Japan, Norway, and perhaps other
pro-whaling nations from leaving the IWC, following Iceland,
which resigned in 1992. The U.S. would technically then be
obliged to impose trade sanctions. While the U.S. delegation
pretends a Japanese and Norwegian withdrawal would break
the IWC, the real breakup would come with the failure of the
U.S. to respond with an all-out boycott that might bring the
renegades back, at cost of domestic jobs.
To avert that political no-win situation, Clinton and
Gore hoped to persuade leading environmental and animal
protection groups––not just WWF, Greenpeace, and
IFAW––to refrain from embarrassing them. They would
meanwhile try to get the Southern Whale Sanctuary proposal
adopted, not in exchange for an immediate resumption of
whaling, which would trigger public outrage, but rather for a
mere break in the status quo, sufficient to keep Norway and
Japan hoping. A similar U.S.-brokered deal brought the
acceptance of the RMP formula in principle by a 16-1 vote in
July 1992, with 11 abstentions while 10 of the then 38 mem-
bers of the International Whaling Commission were absent.
The alleged deal, the Greenpeace memo of March
29 hints, might even have won Japanese support, as the
Southern Whale Sanctuary would protect whales only from
commercial hunting. “Japan could continue scientific whaling
in the sanctuary anyway,” Greenpeace noted.
Despite the criticism of the “scientific” aspects of
the RMP by the United States Marine Mammal Commission,
a joint statement issued by IFAW and WWF argued in early
May that, “We consider that there are at present insufficient
grounds to argue against the provisional adoption of the
RMP.” Instead, IFAW and WWF said they would fight
resumed whaling on technicalgrounds–– namely the unsatis-
fied provisions stipulated in the U.S. resolution.
Greenpeace and IFAW took the same line even
before the April meeting in London, withdrawing from the
Global Cetacean Coalition in March along with the Cousteau
Society and the Sierra Club when Forkan, as head of the
GCC, attacked the RMP in an alert to membership. Signing
on with HSUS in opposition to the RMP were the World
Society for Animal Protection, the American SPCA, the
International Wildlife Coalition, and Earth Island Institute.
“The sacrifice of the largest animal
on the planet cannot be justified
by invoking national traditions.”
––Grupo de 100
In Mexico, meanwhile, the prestigious Group of
100 called upon the Mexican government to “categorically
reject the RMP,” and asked U.S. groups to sign on to the
same statement. The Animal Protection Institute was appar-
ently the first of many to do so.
Said the Group of 100, “The sacrifice of the largest
animal on the planet cannot be justified by invoking national
traditions of its slaughter. Japan and Norway should be
known in the world for their culture, not as enemies of
whales. Japanese and Norwegians alike will survive without
eating whale meat. In impoverished coastal areas of Mexico,
eating turtle meat and eggs was traditional. However, in
1990 the government decreed a total ban on turtle slaughter
and trade.”
Responded Mexican president Carlos Salinas de
Gortari, “Our position will be clear, and will also be firm.
The Mexican government will support the continuation of the
moratorium,” which he said should go on “until there are the
scientific, social, economic, and political elements to ensure
the survival of the whale.” Salinas said Mexico would pro-
pose more work on the RMP, and would not approve it until
all elements of it are completed.
Reaction from the rest of the whale protection com-
munity, as word of the RMP leaked out, was furious. “The
endorsement of any plan such as the RMP would simply make
legitimate the resumption of commercial whaling,” explained
Robbins Barstow, director emeritus of the Cetacean Society
International. “We might delay it here and there, but it would
be inevitable once we start down that path.”
Added Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society, “This is the equivalent of England and
France appeasing Hitler by giving him Czechoslovakia. We
can understand the trade considerations that force nations to
capitulate at the expense of conservation. We cannot under-
stand why conservation organizations would agree to sell out
the whales.”
“This is now a war,” said Fund for Animals founder
Cleveland Amory. Added Fund campaign coordinator
Michael Markarian, “We are both outraged and perplexed by
recent support for the RMP given by the Clinton administra-
tion and self-proclaimed animal welfare organizations. The
Fund believes renegade whaling nations should be punished,
not rewarded.”
The American Humane Association also issued a
statement opposing the RMP.
On May 2, Friends of Animals brought the RMP to
public notice for the first time with a half-page ad in U S A
Today, attacking the Greenpeace, IFAW, and WWF posi-
tions. Nine days later FoA led activists from EIA, the Fund,
and PETA in a seven-hour protest at the Greenpeace USA
headquarters in Washington D.C.; Markarian and Bill
Dollinger of FoA chained themselves to the doors. Other
demonstration leaders included Allan Thornton of EIA, a
cofounder of Greenpeace U.K., and Betsy Swart of FoA, a
former Greenpeace staffer. Rattled Greenpeace officials
answered questions about the RMP for the first time in three
weeks, altering their rhetoric. Instead of declaring that
Greenpeace would neither endorse nor oppose the RMP, they
emphasized that Greenpeace would “not support” the RMP.
Most critics were not mollified. Wrote David Day,
author of The Whale War, in a column for the London Daily
Mail, “The leaders of Greenpeace, IFAW, and WWF have
made a huge tactical blunder, and I doubt whether more than
a few people within each organization really understand the
disastrous consequences of their newly adopted position.”
Day was unaware of Fuller’s letter, written the
morning after the FoA demonstration––and apparently written
from the heart, as the public uproar enabled whaling oppo-
nents to deal from newly realized strength. Nor was Fuller the
only WWF official to take an emphatic anti-whaling stance.
“We feel we’ve been hoodwinked by the administration,”
WWF staffer Mark Sutton told media.
For the first time since Clinton took office, the ani-
mal protection community rallied around whales––even
though the importance of the RMP had been so little recog-
nized that it reportedly wasn’t even discussed at the Summit
for the Animals, an annual conference of animal rights group
executives held in Boston in early April.
“I have not seen the RMP,” said Vernon Weir of
United Animal Nations, a member of the Summit executive
committee. “However, UAN would be opposed to any whal-
ing whatsoever––any place, any time, and for any reason.”
U.S. seeks bowhead quota
Whatever the outcome in Puerto Vallarta, some
whales will be killed. Iceland, the Danish-held Faroe
Islands, and Greenland have formed their own North Atlantic
Marine Mammal Committee as an umbrella for resumed com-
mercial whaling. Claiming 28,000 minke whales in coastal
waters eat as many fish as the national fleet catches, Icelandic
foreign minister Jon Balvin Hannibalsson said last October
that Iceland might kill 200 whales this year.
The U.S. meanwhile applied on March 22 for the
extension of a three-year aboriginal subsistence quota of 41
bowhead whales annually, granted in 1991 for the benefit of
nine Eskimo villages in northern Alaska. The renewal appli-
cation added a 10th village, Little Diomede. The 1991 quota
referred only to “whales struck,” i.e. harpooned, not “whales
landed.” The current application, however, assumes only
75% of the whales hit will be retrieved. Thus, said Charles
Karnella of the National Marine Fisheries Service, “The U.S.
will seek IWC approval to strike up to 64 bowheads [per year]
in order to land 48.” The renewed quota would run through
1997. The weight the Clinton administration gives the appli-
cation was already clear from the January 19 appointment of
D. James Baker and Michael F. Tillman as commissioner and
deputy commissioner of the U.S. delegation. Tillman, an
Alaskan native and member of the Tlingit tribe, gives indige-
nous whalers their strongest voice yet in U.S. whale policy.
––Merritt Clifton
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