Five Makah arrested for killing whale without permit
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2007:
NEAH BAY, Washington– Frustrated by eight years of failing
to obtain a new federal permit to kill gray whales, after killing
one in May 1999, Makah tribal whaler Wayne Johnson, 54, and four
other Makah– Theron Parker, Andy Noel, Billy Secor and Frank
Gonzales Jr.–on September 8, 2007 killed a whale without a permit
and without tribal authorization or awareness.
“Crew members plunged at least five stainless steel whaling
harpoons into the animal. Then they shot it,” wrote Seattle Times
staff reporter Lynda V. Mapes. “The Coast Guard, alerted to the
hunt by onlookers, was on the scene within hours. Johnson and the
others quickly found themselves in handcuffs,” recounted Mapes.
“The Coast Guard confiscated the gun and their boats, and cut the
whale, harpoons and all, loose to drift on the current. By evening,
the whale was dead, and sank out of sight.
“After questioning, the Coast Guard turned the whalers over
to tribal police. They spent most of Saturday night at the tribal
jail on the reservation, then were released on bond,” Mapes said.
The Makah Nation claim a right to kill whales under the 1855
agreement that brought the tribe into the U.S. The 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled in 2002, however, that the Makah must obtain
a waiver of the Marine Mammal Protection Act before they may hunt
Johnson said he had been told by a tribal lobbyist that
obtaining the waiver might take two more years.