Expatica news

Dutch back lifting whaling ban

19 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is prepared to back the abolition of a ban on commercial whale fishing and the introduction of a restricted catch regulated by a “management and inspection system”.

The Agriculture Ministry said on Monday that the introduction of a restricted whale catch could be better managed than the present ban and is backing proposals from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to gradually lift the moratorium.

The Netherlands will present its views to an IWC conference that started in the Italian coastal resort of Sorrento on Monday, news agency ANP reported.

The IWC imposed in 1986 a general ban on whale fishing because several species were seriously threatened with extinction. Restricted catches were only permitted for academic purposes.

But an Agriculture Ministry spokesman said the present moratorium was being breached in various ways, with the whale catch doubling in the past 10 years.

Norway ignores the ban, while Japan and Iceland have been allowed to kill a number of whales for what they say are “scientific purposes”, Radio Netherlands reported. Japan has also worked for many years to resume the commercial whaling industry.

The ministry said that within the IWC there were two opposing parties — countries that wish to commercially fish whales and nations that want to protect them.

But by allowing a restricted catch, the Netherlands hopes to prevent the former from turning its back on the commission and completely going its own way.  

But as a pre-condition, the Netherlands will urge that stricter inspections be imposed on the commercial whaling industry.

The environment director of the Dutch Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries Ministry, Sappe Raaphorst, will present the Dutch government’s views to the IWC conference. It is not yet known how many nations support the Dutch proposal.

But green-left party GroenLinks has accused the government of reversing its stance on the whaling industry and has demanded answers from Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004 and Novum Nieuws]

Subject: Dutch news + commercial whaling