Sanctions Ordered Against Japan For Whaling Violations
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Conservationists are rejoicing over their latest legal victory to save the whales.
″We’re thrilled, we think it is terrific,″ Patricia Forkan, vice president of the Humane Society, said Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey ordered the Reagan administration to impose economic sanctions against Japan for violating the International Whaling Commission’s ban on taking sperm whales.
Richey said Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige had a clear duty to certify to President Reagan that the Japanese whaling industry had violated the IWC zero quota for sperm whales.
″By not doing so, the secretary has ignored the plain intent of Congress, and the historic significance of United States sanctions in the sphere of international whale conservation,″ he said.
Commerce announced an agreement last November under which the Japanese would agree to a moratorium on the taking of all whales by 1988 in exchange for the U.S. not imposing economic sanctions. Under the agreement, Japan would be able to take 1,200 whales through 1987.
Richey said Baldrige ″may not unilaterally, or even bilaterally with the Japanese, dismiss the mandate of the IWC so as to proceed with his own particular vision of whale preservation. Congress has not given him that authority, and has, in fact, explicitly created an automatic sanction to prevent this very situation.″
Baldrige has instructed the Justice Department to appeal the decision immediately and to seek a stay in the enforcement of the ruling pending the appeal, said a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a branch of the Commerce Department.
Alan Macnow, representing the Japanese Whaling Association and Japanese Fishing Association, said he was disappointed but expected Richey to come out with the ruling that he did.
″He takes no notice that whales are already saved,″ said Macnow. ″Countries like Japan have already taken action to see that the stock is not depleted. If you read his statement, you would think the whole whaling population was extinct.″
Conservationists, environmentalists and animal lovers, who brought the suit last November when Baldrige announced the agreement with Japan, had a different view of the decision.
″We think this is a big win for us and the whales,″ said the Humane Society’s Forkan. ″The United States has to maintain this strong position. ; It would be the downfall of the IWC if the U.S. went around making deals with other countries.″
Mark Cheater, legislative director of Greenpeace USA, called the decision ″a landmark victory for whale conservation. The ruling will send a clear signal ;to all intransigent nations that pirate whaling will not be tolerated by the United States.″