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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Iceland wins whaling membership
A harpooned minke whale
Iceland says it will hunt minke and fin whales

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has accepted Iceland as a full member, despite that country's plans to resume commercial hunting.

The commission's members voted narrowly in favour of the move at a meeting in Cambridge, UK, despite strong objections from Britain and the United States.

The IWC has also allowed indigenous communities on the Bering Strait between north America and Russia to resume whaling.

The worldwide ban on commercial whaling has been in place since 1986.

At that time, countries who were members of the International Whaling Commission accepted the decision, except for Iceland and Norway.

Iceland stopped whaling, but left the IWC in protest.

Norway remained inside the commission and, through tough negotiating, managed to stay as the only country hunting whales on a commercial basis.

Breakthrough

Iceland soon realised its mistake and has been trying to get the same treatment for the last 10 years.

Now it has finally made the breakthrough.

Iceland says it will not resume hunting until 2006, when it will catch fin and minke whales, which it says are in plentiful supply.

At the meeting in Cambridge, the IWC agreed to re-instate whaling quotas for the Inupiat and Yupik communities that fish the Bering Strait between Russia and America.

They were stopped from hunting after objections from Japan, which wanted some of its coastal villages to be given the same rights.

But the commission has ruled only the Bering Strait people can hunt whales again.

See also:

14 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
13 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
25 Sep 02 | Science/Nature
24 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
20 May 02 | Science/Nature
20 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
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