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Old 05-30-2007, 02:48 PM   #1
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IWC and Alaska subsistence

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http://www.ktva.com/topstory/ci_6015745

IWC and Alaska subsistence
By Andrea Gusty, CBS 11 News Reporter
Article Last Updated: 05/29/2007 06:43:38 PM AKDT


KTVA Photojournalist, Scott Favorite It's a tradition that goes back thousands of years. And Tuesday it was reaffirmed by the International Whaling Commission. Delegates from 76 different countries approved Native subsistence whale hunting--both here and in the Lower 48.
The annual bowhead hunt is vital to the subsistence economy of costal villages on the North Slope. That's why applause filled the Captain Cook Hotel on Tuesday as the International Whaling Commission reapproved subsistence whale hunting in Alaska.

The subsistence whaling quotas for the United States were unanimously approved by the International Whaling Commission for the next five years, giving permission to both Alaska Natives on the North Slope and the Makah Indians in Washington state to hunt bowhead and grey whales.

"It's a tremendous success for us and our tribe. So, I'm excited that we are going to be able to once again resume," said Marcelina Parker of the Makah Tribe, Washington.

"It's very important to us. It will make the livelihood of our communities at ease, at least

Harry Brower of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission
KTVA Photojournalist, Scott Favorite for the next five years," said Harry Brower of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.
Other countries say they need subsistence as well. Now with whaling secured in the U.S., Japan wants support for a subsistence-type whaling program of its own--one in which whale meat would be sold on the open market.

"I see no difference between the two proposals, other than the way that they process and distribute and deal with meat, or the results of the hunt," said Glenn Inwood, spokesman for

Marcelina Parker of the Makah Tribe, Washington
KTVA Photojournalist, Scott Favorite the Japanese delegation.
But some IWC delegates say Japan's proposal is dangerously close to commercial whaling, something that the commission has banned for the last few decades.

Japan disagrees, saying the meat has to be sold so that traditional whalers can make ends meet.

"Selling the whale meat in local areas in Japan to be consumed locally would allow the hunters in the area to recover the cost associated with whale hunting. And that's all it would really be for," said Inwood.

If Japan's plan goes through, it blurs the line between subsistence and commercial whaling--a line the International Whaling Commission will have to define over the next few days.

The 76-nation International Whaling Commission vote allows Alaska Natives to take 260 bowhead whales over the next five years. That's 51 a year, which will be split between the North Slope villages that rely heavily on the meat to survive.

Japan's proposal, and the issue of commercial

KTVA Photojournalist, Scott Favorite whaling, will likely be decided on by the IWC in the next few days.
Bristol Bay threat?

The International Whaling Commission is not only charged with deciding how whales will be hunted, but also how they are conserved. Now conservation groups in Alaska are asking the commission to bar offshore drilling in Bristol Bay.

Valuable marine life, including the endangered Eastern North Pacific right whales, live in Bristol Bay--the same waters that are up for oil exploration.

Alaska Native whalers and conservation organizations want the IWC to support their concerns about offshore oil exploration. They demand more tests be performed before offshore oil drilling is allowed.

Conservation groups say that the marine life in Bristol Bay is too valuable to Alaska's commercial and subsistence fishing economies to risk for a small amount of oil.

"The idea that we would risk this long-term economic resource for a fairly short-term gain that could potentially cause tremendous damage to natural resources in the area is unacceptable," said Margaret Williams of the World Wildlife Fund.

Congress is in the middle of a 90-day review and research period to figure out if they will approve the five-year plan for offshore drilling. The IWC has the power to advise lawmakers to bar the offshore drilling plan and demand better tests on how it will affect the whales.

To contact Andrea, call 907-273-3186.
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:36 AM   #2
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UHHHMMMM, whale meat!
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:59 PM   #3
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I've not had the meat yet.. only the muktuk but I loved it!
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