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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Norwegian Whaling Activities

December 18, 1990

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

On October 19, 1990, Secretary of Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher certified under Section 8 of the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, as amended (Pelly Amendment) (22 U.S.C. 1978), that Norway has conducted whaling activities that diminish the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation program. This letter constitutes my report to the Congress pursuant to subsection (b) of the Pelly Amendment.

The certification of the Secretary of Commerce was based on the issuance by the Government of Norway of permits to its nationals, allowing the killing of North Atlantic minke whales for research purposes. At its 42nd Annual Meeting, the IWC adopted a resolution that considered that the Norwegian research program did not satisfy all criteria for research involving the take of whales. The resolution considered in particular that the research is not adequately structured so as to contribute to or materially facilitate the completion of the IWC comprehensive assessment, nor has it been established that the research addresses critically important research needs. Accordingly, the IWC invited Norway to reconsider its program. On August 10, 1990, Norway advised the IWC that it has reconsidered and has decided to proceed with its research. Research that does not meet all applicable criteria is considered inconsistent with IWC conservation policy.

Norway has made improvements in the design of its research program in each year and a reduction in the take of whales from 68 to five North Atlantic minke whales. Although the IWC is not satisfied that this program meets all applicable criteria, significant progress has been made in Norway's program and presentation. Given the progress made in the caliber of research undertaken and the efforts that have been made to improve U.S.-Norwegian scientific consultations, I am not directing that sanctions be imposed on Norwegian fish products for the whaling activities that led to certification by the Secretary of Commerce.

I am directing the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of State to continue consultations with Norway and our other IWC partners to ensure that the conservation program of the IWC is upheld. I hope that these actions will encourage the continued involvement of all members of the IWC in achieving the goals of this important organization.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dan Quayle, President of the Senate. This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 19.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Norwegian Whaling Activities Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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