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December 20, 2002
Today the 9th Circuit court of appeals ruled in favor of the Gray whales.
The Makah must go through the MMPA for an exemption which means going
through Congress. NMFS also must do an Environmental Impact statement.

What does this mean? It means the Gray Whales can migrate past Washington
State in peace!

Sandra Abels  U.S. Citizens Against Whaling  206-361-0736
"Saving Our Oceans One Whale At A Time"  www.usagainstwhaling.org

December 9, 2002
Dolphin slaughter continues.: A new study by government scientists finds that tuna boats, primarily from Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela, are killing about 3,000 dolphins a year says the S.F. Chronicle 12/5. Dolphin populations in some areas of the Pacific Ocean fished by the tuna fleets are not recovering and that dolphin mortality may be much higher than reported because "untold numbers of the mammals perish from heart stress and when nursing mothers are separated from their calves." The new study contradicts claims by the Bush administration, which wants to weaken the "dolphin safe" label, that "improvement in tuna fishing practices have benefited the dolphins." -Greenlines

November 7, 2002
TOKYO (AP) - Japan is launching a five-month expedition to kill about 400 whales in Antarctic waters, the government said Thursday,  an announcement likely to draw fire from nations opposed to whale hunting, including the United States.  Five Japanese whaling ships will set out Friday from the port of  Shimonoseki, 525 miles southwest of Tokyo, the Fisheries Agency announced on its Web site.
         The agency said the hunt is part of its research into minke whale migration patterns, population trends and diet. The data will be compiled in a final report Japan expects to submit to the International Whaling Commission (news - web sites) in 2005,
Fisheries Agency official Takanori Nagatomo said.
         Japan is one of the world's largest consumers of whale meat, considered a delicacy there. Although the commission banned commercial whaling in 1986 to protect the endangered mammals, it approved limited catches for Japan's scientific research program a year later.
         Fisheries Agency officials say the hunt allows them to collect data for measuring the impact of whale herds on global fisheries stocks. The research costs the country about $37 million a year, part of which is paid through the sale of the meat to wholesalers.
         Nations opposed to whaling, including the United States, Britain and Australia, say the program is commercial whaling in disguise, because most of the whale meat ends up in restaurants. 
         Japan is seeking approval from the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to hunt Bryde's and minke whales, arguing they are no longer scarce. The convention considers the two species to be among the world's most-endangered animals and bans trading of their meat. Two previous Japanese attempts to change the ruling have failed.
        In September, Japanese ships returned from the northwest Pacific Ocean with 194 whales, including 100 minke, 50 Bryde's, five sperm whales and 39 sei, declared an endangered species in 1976. In April, another fleet of ships returned from the Antarctic, bringing back 440 minke whales.

Native "cultural, traditional" tag takes on new meaning- and price:
In the latest, most bizarre chapter in the ongoing renewal of "cultural" and
"traditional" whaling, the United States is now SUPPORTING the renewal of
Japanese whale hunting!!!
        We've said it for years: The Makah whale hunt not only cracked open the door for renewal of so-called "cultural" whaling worldwide, it had the potential to blow the door of protection for the great whales completely off the doorframe.
        And now, after years and years of quietly hoping the day would never come,
we are forced to admit it is here. The U.S. has been forced to completely back away from its' historical stance of PROTECTING whales at the IWC by the very nation that helped start the Makah whaling fiasco in the first place: Japan.
        We'll be following this story very closely, folks, but it certainly looks like a very sad development. Here's a hearty "thumbs down" to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service for playing with fire FAR too long. What a shameful action by a shameful agency. (Sorry, have lost source of this valid opinion.)

International Whaling Commission allows bowhead kills for Eskimos.
By Joel Gay,
Anchorage Daily News (Published: October 15, 2002)
        Months of work by federal negotiators paid off Monday when the International
Whaling Commission meeting in Cambridge, England, unanimously approved a
five-year extension of bowhead quotas for subsistence whalers in Alaska and
        The quota gives Alaska Eskimo crews 51 whales a year from 2003 through 2007
Eskimo whalers in the Chukotka region of Russia can land another five bowheads a year.
        "That was our number-one goal and complete focus since May," when Japan led
a coalition of countries that blocked aboriginal bowhead quotas at the commission's 2002 meeting in Shimonoseki, Japan, said Chris Yates, spokesman for the U.S. delegation.
        Since then, he said, his office talked with delegates from every commission member country to gain their support. Monday's vote was unanimous.  What changed in the intervening months, Yates said, was that the U.S. delegation for the first time softened its stance on Japan's request to resume minke whaling off its coast. For more than a decade, Japan has sought a quota for four traditional coastal whaling communities. The United States has been among the nations blocking it, and the proposal failed again Monday despite U.S. support.
            Yates said the United States did not change its stance on commercial whaling
so much as its stance on how Japan's proposed quota might be used. Before the U.S. delegation would support any new whaling venture, Japan will have to prove that the whales are being taken for subsistence purposes and not for commercial sale.
        In addition, he said, the commission's scientific committee will have to find the minke stocks off Japan's coast large enough to support a harvest. "We stuck to our principles," Yates said, "but we have much better working  relationship with Japan" after talks this summer. However, he added, "we definitely appreciate their current position of not opposing the (Alaska bowhead) quota."
        Gavin Carter, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant who works with Japan's
whaling industry, said it was notable that Japan upheld its promise to the United States not to block the bowhead quota. It shouldn't be a surprise that the United States voted with 15 other countries seeking to put Japan's minke whale quota on the next commission meeting agenda, he said.
        "Anti-whaling countries are beginning to see the Japanese situation as a bit of an anomaly," he said. Japanese whaling also has aboriginal roots, he said, so it makes sense for the commission to approve a small quota for the four coastal communities.
        Representatives of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission were in England and were not available for comment. But Point Hope whaler Elijah Rock was happy
to hear the news.  "It's a positive move, I'll tell you," he said. "It sure took a long time
for them to recognize that."
Sandra Abels
U.S. Citizens Against Whaling
"Saving Our Oceans One Whale At A Time"

September 20, 2002
HISTORIC WHALE SIGHTING: "For the first time in more than a century,"
a northern right whale calf and mother have been sighted in the North Pacific Ocean, encouraging scientists that the "world's most endangered cetaceans may yet escape extinction" says the
Anchorage Daily News 9/20. The whales were documented by NMFS biologists in the southeastern part of the Bering Sea where other right whales have been foraging during the past few summers.

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