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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate Reporting on Japanese Whaling Activities

April 06, 1988

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

On February 9, 1988, Secretary of Commerce C. William Verity certified under Section 201(e) of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976, as amended (Packwood-Magnuson Amendment) (16 U.S.C. 1821(e)) and Section 8 of the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, as amended (Pelly Amendment) (22 U.S.C. 1978), that Japan 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 Japan of permits to its nationals, allowing them to kill Southern Hemisphere minke whales for research purposes, despite a 1987 resolution adopted by the IWC. This resolution recommended that Japan not issue permits until uncertainties in their scientific research proposals were resolved. A revised Japanese research proposal had been reviewed by a special meeting of the IWC Scientific Committee and had not succeeded in satisfying the Committee that the defects in the research program had been cured.

Shortly after the Secretary's certification, the IWC adopted a second resolution on February 14, 1988, recommending that Japan not proceed with its revised research program. Japan has continued its whaling activities notwithstanding this second resolution.

Given the lack of any evidence that Japan is bringing its whaling activities into conformance with the recommendations of the IWC, I am directing the Secretary of State under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment to withhold 100 percent of the fishing privileges that would otherwise be available to Japan in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. Japan has requested the opportunity to fish for 3,000 metric tons of sea snails and 5,000 metric tons of Pacific whiting. These requests will be denied. In addition, Japan will be barred from any future allocations of fishing privileges for any other species, including Pacific cod, until the Secretary of Commerce determines that the situation has been corrected.

The sanctions being imposed are the strongest possible under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment. The immediate and prospective effects of a 100 percent reduction of fishing allocations, coupled with Presidential review in the near future, is the most effective means of encouraging Japan to embrace the IWC conservation program. Therefore, I will not impose at this time the sanctions available under the Pelly Amendment against Japanese fish products imported into the United States. I am asking Secretary Verity, in cooperation with Secretary Shultz, to monitor Japanese whaling practices during the next few months and to report to me no later than December 1, 1988.

I also am directing the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of State to continue consultations with our IWC partners to ensure that we bring to a halt all whaling that diminishes the effectiveness of the IWC's conservation program, specifically including that under Japan's contested research program. Our actions taken today and in the future should encourage all nations to adhere to the conservation programs of the IWC.



Note: Identical letters were sent to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Bush, President of the Senate.

Ronald Reagan, Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate Reporting on Japanese Whaling Activities Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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