Iceland to resume whaling

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1999:

REYKJAVIK, SEATTLE––The parliament of
Iceland on March 10 instructed the government to begin
preparations for Icelandic whalers to resume commercial
whaling by no later than December 31, 2000––and to mount
a drive to sway world opinion in favor of whaling.
The vote came as a cold shower to whale lovers
who had hoped that the tourist-attracting presence of the orca
Keiko in an Icelandic sea pen would dissuade Iceland from
resuming hunting. Iceland last killed whales in 1989, after
three years of defying the International Whaling Commission
moratorium on commercial whaling in effect since 1986.
Iceland withdrew from the IWC in 1992
“The Makahs have already done the damage we
feared,” said Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society. “Thousand of whales are going to be
killed because of their claim of cultural necessity.” The
Makah argument is echoed by both Iceland and Norway,
which in November 1998 unilaterally set a 1999 quota for
itself of 671 minke whales. Similar rationales are expected to
be heard from other onetime whaling nations.

Watson was in Seattle preparing his two-ship fleet
to again stand vigil off Neah Bay, headquarters of the
Makah, in hopes of discouraging any attempt they might
make to kill gray whales during the whales’ northward
migration. Upon receiving the news from Iceland, Watson
told media he would divide his forces. Left on Puget Sound
to watch the Makah will be the smaller ship, the former
Canadian coast guard patrol vessel Sirenian. The larger vessel,
the Sea Shepherd III, will sail to Iceland.
“We have a reputation there,” Watson said. “We
sunk half their whaling fleet in 1986. “I expect they will
respond with their coast guard. If they try to ram us, we’ll
ram them.”
The Sea Shepherds in early February finally won
the return of an inflatable boat seized by Makah tribal police
during a November 1 confrontation. Makah tribal police officer
Eric Svenson, not a member of the tribe, was on March
2 charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault in connection
with the same incident.

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