11.12.2009: Norway Uncompromising on Whale Catch Limit





E.O. 12958: N/A


SUBJECT: Norway Uncompromising on Whale Catch Limit

REF: (A) STATE 125350

(B) 12/09/09 Selinger/Heg Email

(C) OSLO 111

(D) Oslo 381

(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect


1. (SBU) Summary: In response to Ambassador´s demarche on Norway´s

increase in whale catch limits, FM Store on December 10 vigorously

defended GON policy as based on scientific principles for the

management of marine resources. While noting that Norway had not

participated in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) reform

discussions, he did thank the United States for trying to broker a

way out of the IWC´s current deadlock and said the Norwegians are

open to discussing whaling policy on the basis of scientific

principles. A Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Ministry official made

similar arguments in a meeting with Poleconoff. End Summary.

2. (U) As requested refs A and B, the Ambassador raised Norway´s

increased whaling catch limit with FM Store at the end of the

latter´s December 10 meeting with visiting Secretary Chu (septel),

during the POTUS visit to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. The

Ambassador urged the GON to show flexibility on catch limits to

enable a compromise reform of the International Whaling Commission

(IWC). He also urged the GON to engage with U.S. whaling officials

on this issue.

3. (SBU) FM Store delivered an impassioned defense of Norwegian

policy, stressing that the prospective limits on the minke whale

catch will be well within scientific limits. Pointing out that

Norway´s sea territory is six times larger than its land mass, the

FM emphasized the importance of sound management of living marine

resources. While the whaling industry is not large in an economic

sense, the principle of scientific management of sea resources as a

whole is critically important to Norway. Minke whales are not an

endangered species and they impact other, more significant marine

resources, such as cod stocks. Store maintained that similar

principles are at stake in Norway´s trade dispute with the European

Union over seal hunting.

4. (SBU) Store underlined that Norway had not engaged with the

International Whaling Commission (IWC) Support Group, though he said

he appreciates U.S. efforts to end the current deadlock between pro-

and anti-whaling members. The FM told the Ambassador and Secretary

Chu that the GON is willing to talk about these issues, provided key

scientific principles are respected.

5. (U) On December 9, Poleconoff and Political Specialist met Ole

David Stenseth, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Fisheries and Costal

Affairs, to deliver ref (A) demarche expressing disappointment with

Norway´s recent increase in its catch quota for minke whales and

urging the GON to agree to a reduction in order to enable a

compromise reform of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

Poleconoff emphasized the importance of this issue to Washington,

noting that Post was instructed to deliver these points in advance

of the POTUS visit. He also encouraged the GON to participate in

the next meeting of the Support Group to the IWC in Hawaii in


6. (SBU) Stenseth asserted that Norway was following the IWC

Scientific Committee´s management principles for ensuring

sustainability and that Norwegian whalers were harvesting a

sustainable catch. He emphasized that Norway was using the same

method of fixing catch quotas as it had in the past. While the

Ministry supports the goal of normalizing the IWC, it would require

a political mandate before it could engage in substantive

discussions about a change in policy.


2009-12-11 06:46

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