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The Japanese Antarctic whalers had in the meantime reached their quota of 1,941 and chose to head for port rather than run the risk of Packwood-Magnuson certification. Baldrige had made it clear that any violation of the minke allocation would not "insulate [d] from certification" under the bilateral deal.
After an agonizing internal debate, Japan notified the United States on April 5 (four days after the deadline specified in the bilateral deal) that they would withdraw their objection to the IWC's commercial whaling moratorium. However, this "pledge" was so conditional that it amounted to no more than an empty gesture. The withdrawal would only be filed with the IWC five days after Judge Richey's ruling was overturned, and then would lapse if at any point in the future the Japanese were certified under Packwood-Magnuson. As with their sperm whaling moratorium objection, this withdrawal would only become effective in 1988.
Unfortunately, newspapers failed to pick up on the fine print in the Japanese statement, and headlines in major American papers read: "Japan's Commercial Whaling Will End No Later Than 1988. This unfortunate misrepresentation, and the many that have preceeded it, has obscured the fact that at no point have the Japanese ever made a positive, unconditional commitment to abide by the IWC's sperm whaling or commercial whaling moratoria. Biological Implications of Continued Exploitation on Whale Stocks A moratorium on sperm whaling was approved by the IWC in 1981 in large part because scientists agreed that the North Pacific population would continue to decline even in the absence of further hunting. Massive over-exploitation by Soviet and Japanese pelagic fleets, particularly of female whales, has negatively impacted this population by skewing its sex ratio. As a result, natural mortality will continue to outstrip net recruitment rate in the near future, even in the absence of continued exploitation.
In 1984, the IWC Scientific Committee was unable to agree on what the long term effects of continued sperm whaling would be on these stocks. In the absence of a firm basis to believe that there would be no long term ill effects, the most prudent course would be to end the hunting of this species until the stocks recover. The IWC has taken precisely such action, but the U.S. and Japan have chosen to ignore that prudent management strategy. As a result, it is clear that the bilateral deal not only will not contribute to the recovery of this species, but it could very possibly hasten its demise.
The IWC approved the commercial whaling moratorium in 1982 in order to provide a period for depleted stocks to regenerate and for scientists to gather better data on whale stocks to determine whether commercial whaling can be resumed safely. The bilateral deal does not contribute positively to either of those goals. By sanctioning the continued take of minke whales both pelagically and coastally, and condoning the further hunting of
Bryde's whales, this arrangement interferes with the abilities of scientists to determine the reproductive and population biology of these species in natural conditions.
At present, accurate population estimates on either species are lacking. While neither appears to be in danger of extinction, too little is known about these whales to be able to make predictions with certainty. Until recently, whalers counted Bryde's whales as sei whales, complicating the management of this species and putting its status in doubt. As regards the minke, pelagic whalers from many nations have brought their mechanized fury to bear solely on this species in the past few years. The previous effects of pelagic factory ship operations on species such as the blue whale give us cause to worry about the ultimate fate of the minke.
Political Ramifications of the Bilateral Deal
The international repercussions of this deal are still being felt. Among all our objections to this arrangement, the foremost is certainly the encouragement it provides to whaling nations which are hoping to avoid the commercial moratorium. At present, there are nine member nations of the IWC which continue to take whales commercially. Three (Norway, the Soviet Union and Japan) have filed formal objections to the moratorium. The other six have indicated their intent to comply with this decision. However, the strength of their commitment is dubious.
Just recently, the Conservative party of Iceland passed a resolution which expressed their intention to explore all possible paths to continue whaling after the moratorium begins in 1986. The Brazilian Federation of Trade Unions has expressed similar interest in pursuing approaches to continue whaling. Spain only recently threatened to file a reservation to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) listing of fin whales with the apparent intention of engaging in further trade in this species.
As for the other two objecting nations,
they are nearly
certain to ask for an exemption to U.S. law. Norway has delegations to Washington on a regular basis seeking just the kind of deal that was granted to the Japanese. The U.S. has all but extended the invitation to the Soviets formally, by implying they could have avoided their recent certification if they had attempted to reach a compromise.
It appears clear that whalers of all nations are watching the developments in this country with great interest. Should the Japanese succeed in their attempt to whale with impunity, other countries will certainly argue for equal treatment. Non-whaling governments are watching with equal concern and exasperation, as they see the very fabric of the IWC being threatened by the United States. Australian, Swedish and St. Lucian officials worry, justifiably, that this deal weakens the effectiveness of the IWC by hindering the implementation of the moratorium and circumventing multi-lateral decision-making and scientific advice.
THE 37th ANNUAL
MEETING OF THE IWC
1985 marks a critical juncture for the International Whaling Commission. For most of its early history, this body presided over the systematic destruction of one whale stock after another. Since the 1970's, however, the IWC has moved gradually away from its original 'whalers' cartel' orientation.
This evolution has been painstaking and tedious. Now, for the first time in its history, the IWC is officially scheduled to enter a new era of whale protection rather than exploitation. This year's meeting will prove pivotal in formally marking that transition. However, the forces representing the past are sure to make one last-ditch effort to stay the Commission from its appointed course.
In addition to the bilateral deal, three issues are likely to prove important at this year's meeting. The Japanese/Norwegian proposal to reclassify some coastal whaling operations will be discussed. Another proposal to redefine certain pelagic operations will probably be raised. And finally, efforts may be made to reorganize the IWC and restructure its decision-making apparatus.
Coastal Subsistence Whaling
At the February working group session of the IWC, Japan and Norway formally proposed the creation of a new category of "coastal subsistence" whaling. This category, which would include the shore-based hunts for minke whales in these two countries, would be exempt from the commercial whaling moratorium.
Although the working group took no official action on this proposal, it is highly likely that the issue will be raised again at this suminer's IWC meeting. Greenpeace believes that IWC approval of such a motion would open a Pandora's box allowing other whaling nations to escape the moratorium.
It is imperative that the United States stand firm in its resolve to insure that the commercial whaling moratorium is implemented. Any proposal to redefine commercial whaling operations or to modify the moratorium in any fashion must be defeated.
At the February working group meeting, the U.S. delegation made no move to counter this dangerous proposal. members of this subcommittee to direct the U.S. to actively oppose any move to reclassify operations.
Research or Scientific Whaling
We urge the IWC Commissioner coastal whaling
A major loophole in the IWC's regulatory power is the virtually unrestrained ability it gives to member nations to issue "special permits". These permits to take whales scientific purposes may be granted freely by member nations
long as they are reported to the IWC and the results of the research are made available.
As the commercial moratorium draws closer, whaling nations have broached the possibility that they will continue their operations under the guise of scientific research, granting themselves "special permits" for large-scale pelagic whaling.
In particular, the Japanese have threatened to redefine their Antarctic minke operations as research whaling, in hopes of avoiding the prohibitions on commercial whaling while achieving technical compliance with the moratorium. They may seek IWC approval for this action.
These attempts to engage in semantic gerrymandering be rejected in the strongest possible terms by the U.S. delegation this summer. Our Commissioner should spearhead efforts to put the IWC on record against any large scale "scientific" whaling. The IWC should make it clear that whales taken for research can not be used commercially.
Reorganization of the IWC
In a letter to IWC Secretary Ray Gambell last fall, the Japanese complained bitterly about what they alleged to be the "unbalanced composition" of the IWC and the "unfair management its Scientific Committee. As such, they expressed their interest in 'normalizing' the Commission.
The details of this proposal have not been elaborated, but the intent is clear. The Japanese wish to return to the days of an IWC whalers' club by excluding non-whaling nations from the decision-making process. Administrative changes in the membership or voting procedures of the Commission could allow Japan to revoke previous conservation decisions, with disastrous consequences. Such a proposal, if it is offered formally, should be swiftly and forcefully dispatched.
III. HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 54
Greenpeace applauds the efforts of Representatives Bonker, Yatron, and Gedjenson in submitting H.C.R. 54. This resolution marks an important reaffirmation of Congressional intent regarding the implementation of the IWC's commercial whaling
For over a decade, Congress has sought to strengthen and uphold the duly established decisions of the IWC. Numerous oversight hearings in subcommittees such as this, resolutions, and significant pieces of legislation such as the Pelly Amendment and the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment have all have been geared towards establishing the United States as a leader in whale conservation efforts and a guardian of the IWC.
The current Administration has ignored that proud legacy. By negotiating a deal outside the auspices of the IWC that undercuts the most important action that body has ever taken, the Reagan Administration has made a mockery of international whale conservation efforts, and torn the thin fabric which holds the IWC together.
Now more than ever, this resolution is necessary as a reminder to the President that he does not have the discretion to treat whales as bargaining chips in international trade or foreign policy disputes. U.S. law must be applied in a firm and even-handed manner, and our resolve to protect the integrity of the IWC must be made clear. All nations that choose to violate whaling quotas or moratoria should have their fishing privileges in U.S. waters reduced accordingly.
We urge this subcommittee to act promptly and favorably on H.C.R. 54. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
Mr. YATRON. Thank you very much, Mr. Cheater, for your statement.
Our next witness is Mr. Campbell Plowden. Mr. Plowden, please go ahead with your statement, sir.
STATEMENT OF CAMPBELL PLOWDEN, WHALE CAMPAIGN COORDINATOR, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES Mr. PLOWDEN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am Campbell Plowden, whale campaign coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States, representing our some 400,000 members in the United States.
I am very happy to testify here today before your subcommittee, which has played a vital role in guiding U.S. policy on the whaling issue over the past few years.
The key point that I would like to stress today is that what happened with the Japanese back in November represented the turning point from what had been the image of the U.S. Government, saying that they were committed to saving whales, and their lack of commitment to actually doing so.
I was sent to Japan last November by Greenpeace with the notion of documenting what was an impending sperm whale hunt by the Japanese. The United States had the power at that point to stop that hunt dead in the water, absolutely without question. But since the U.S. Presidential election was coming up, they chose instead to negotiate with the Japanese.
I sat around at a Japanese whaling station and watched the boats go out to sea to hunt the day after the first round of negotiations happened. The Japanese were so ecstatic that the United States was even willing to talk that they were sure they were going to get a deal. Several days later the negotiations resumed, and even before the agreement had been reached, whales had been brought in to the coastal stations. I witnessed two sperm whales brought into the station and flensed. That was on top of seven or eight other whales that had already been brought in and probably dumped at sea because the United States was not willing to take a stand.