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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Whaling Activities of Norway

December 23, 1992

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

On October 26, 1992, Secretary of Commerce Barbara Hackman Franklin certified under section 8 of the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, as amended ("Pelly Amendment") (22 U.S.C. 1978(a)), 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 44th Annual Meeting, the IWC adopted a resolution stating that the Norwegian research program did not satisfy all criteria for research involving the take of whales. In particular, concern was expressed that the Government had not adequately structured the research so as to contribute to or materially facilitate the completion of the IWC comprehensive assessment. The IWC was also of the view that the Government of Norway had not established that its research addresses critically important research needs. Research that does not meet all applicable criteria is considered inconsistent with IWC conservation policy. In view of these concerns, the IWC invited Norway to reconsider its program. The Norwegian Government issued permits for the proposed take prior to the IWC meeting, and, on the last day of the meeting, the Norwegian whaling vessels reportedly set sail. Since then, 95 minke whales have been taken.

I am also greatly concerned about the announcement made by the Government of Norway at the beginning of the 44th Annual Meeting of the IWC that Norway would resume commercial whaling in 1993, irrespective of the decisions of the IWC. The moratorium on commercial whaling adopted by the IWC is observed by the entire community of nations, including those that are not members of the IWC. If Norway, a founding member of the IWC, were to disregard the moratorium, it would very likely lead to grave consequences for the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program.

I have carefully considered these developments and concluded that we should continue to give a high priority to working with all IWC members to maintain the integrity of the IWC. I want to ensure that the IWC has the full support of the United States in carrying out its responsibility to conserve the great natural resources represented by whale stocks.

I am not at this time directing the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on Norwegian products for the whaling activities that led to certification by the Secretary of Commerce. I will ensure, however, that our concerns are communicated to the highest levels of the Norwegian Government. I am also requesting that further senior-level consultations with Norway and our other IWC partners be undertaken to ensure that the IWC's conservation program is upheld. I hope that our actions will encourage all members of the IWC to cooperate in its important mission.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dan Quayle, President of the Senate.

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

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