Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1979

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Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: February 13, 1979

International Whaling Commission
Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report.
February 13, 1979

To the Congress of the United States:

On December 14, 1978, Secretary of Commerce Kreps certified to me,pursuant to the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967, that nationals of Peru, Chile and the Republic of Korea were conducting whaling operations in a manner that diminishes the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission conservation programs.

Under the Pelly Amendment, such a certification must be followed by a report to the Congress. I am pleased to transmit the attached report which indicates that all three of these nations are becoming members of the International Whaling Commission and will therefore voluntarily become subject to its conservation programs. Thus, I am not at this time imposing sanctions against these nations.
JIMMY CARTER
The White House,
February 13, 1979.

REPORT TO CONGRESS

The Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act of 1967, 22 U.S.C. § 1978 ( 1971 ), as amended, provides that when the Secretary of Commerce determines that nationals of a foreign country, directly or indirectly, are conducting fishing operations in a manner or under circumstances which diminish the effectiveness of an international fishery conservation program, the Secretary shall certify such determination to the President. Upon receipt of such certification, the President may direct the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit the importation into the United States of fishery products of the offending country for such duration as the President determines appropriate to the extent that such prohibition is sanctioned by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Within sixty days following any such certification, the President is required to notify the Congress of any action taken pursuant to such certification.

On December 14, 1978, Secretary of Commerce Kreps certified to me, pursuant to the Pelly Amendment, that nationals of Peru, Chile and the Republic of Korea were conducting whaling operations in a manner and under circumstances that diminish the effectiveness of International Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation programs.

Peruvian vessels caught 592 Bryde’s and sei whales in the waters off the western coast of South America during the 1975-1976 season, all of which were in excess of the IWC conservation quota of 198. Peruvian vessels also caught 1,261 sperm whales during the 1975-1976 season, which exceeded the IWC conservation quota for such whales by 396. During the 1976-1977 season, Peruvian vessels caught 1,140 sperm whales, despite the IWC prohibition of such catches. Peruvian vessels also caught 368 Bryde’s and sei whales during the 1976-1977 season, despite the IWC prohibition of Bryde’s whale catches and despite the catch by other countries of 298 of the 388 sei whales permitted by the IWC. Although precise information by species taken is not available for the 1977-1978 season, the Government of Peru established a unilateral quota of 300 sei and Bryde’s whales and 900 sperm whales for that season, despite the IWC prohibition of Bryde’s and sperm whale catches. Peruvian vessels continued to hunt in the waters off Peru and Chile during the 1977-1978 season, and at least 1,085 Bryde’s and sperm whales were taken by Peruvian vessels during that season, despite the IWC prohibition of such catches.

Although precise information is not available for the 1975-1976 season, Chilean vessels caught at least 23 sei whales in the waters off the west coast of South America during that season, all of which were in excess of the IWC conservation quota of 198. During the 1976-1977 season,Chilean vessels caught 76 sperm whales despite the IWC prohibition of sperm whale catches. During the 1977-1978 season the Government of Chile established unilateral quotas allowing further catches of sperm whales despite the continuing IWC prohibition, and Chilean nationals acquired additional whaling equipment and continued to hunt in the area. It is therefore likely that Chilean vessels continued to exceed the IWC conservation quota for sperm whales during that season.

Vessels of the Republic of Korea caught 43 fin whales in the waters of the western North Pacific during the 1976 season according to information received from the Government of the Republic of Korea, despite the IWC prohibition of commercial catches of such whales. Information subsequently received from the Government of the Republic of Korea indicated that such whales were not fin whales but were Bryde’s whales. However, since the IWC quota for Bryde’s whales was almost entirely taken by Japanese and Soviet vessels during the season, the Korean catch of 43 whales, whether Bryde’s whales or fin whales, exceeded the applicable IWC conservation quotas during 1976. During the 1977 season vessels of the Republic of Korea caught 1,033 minke whales despite the catch by other countries of 248 of the 541 minke whales permitted by the IWC, thereby exceeding the IWC conservation quota for such whales.

I have favored a ten-year moratorium on all commercial whaling since I was a member of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. Although we have not yet been able to achieve such a moratorium, in recent years we have made substantial progress in establishing selective moratoria for species of whales that need protection. For example, in 1973 the IWC quota for sei whales was more than 7,500 per year. Since 1975, the IWC has maintained a moratorium on the taking of sei whales in the North Pacific Ocean. At the 1978 IWC meeting in London, the sei whale quota was reduced to zero in the Southern Ocean, leaving a total allowable catch of only 84 sei whales per year in the North Atlantic. At the recent special IWC meeting in Tokyo, sperm whale quotas for the North Pacific were reduced by 41%. In addition, the IWC has become increasingly responsive to scientific information about the world’s whales. As a result, since 1972 the annual allowable take of whales from populations now subject to IWC quotas has been reduced by nearly 60%, from 46,000 to less than 20,000.

This progress had been threatened by the continued failure of the Governments of Peru, Chile and the Republic of Korea to adhere to internationally accepted measures for the conservation of whales.

During the past year the Department of State has contacted the Governments of Peru, Chile and the Republic of Korea about this matter on a number of occasions, stressing United States concern about their whaling operations, urging that they join the IWC or otherwise adhere to IWC quotas, and informing them of possible application of the provisions of the Pelly Amendment. At the June 1978 meeting of the IWC, the Government of the Republic of Korea indicated its intention to join the IWC by its July 1979 meeting. The Governments of Peru and Chile also indicated their intention to join the IWC by that meeting, but stressed their concern about minimizing the impact on their fishing industries that would result from immediate adherence to IWC quotas.

I am pleased to report that substantial progress has been made since the June 1978 IWC meeting.

The Government of the Republic of Korea became a member of the IWC on December 29, 1978, and the whaling activities of its nationals are now subject to IWC conservation measures.

The Government of Peru has ratified the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and will shortly deposit its instrument of ratification with our Department of State effective as of the next IWC meeting in July 1979 or earlier. The Government of Peru will thus be a member of the IWC in time to participate in its next meeting, and the whaling activities of Peruvian nationals will be subject to IWC conservation measures by that time. In the interim, the Government of Peru has indicated that Peruvian nationals will not take any sei whales during the current season. I have also asked the State Department to work with the Peruvian Government in an effort to achieve interim reductions in sperm and Bryde’s whale quotas.

The Government of Chile is now completing final arrangements for ratification of the Convention. The Government of Chile has indicated that the process will be completed, and that the instrument of ratification will be deposited with our Department of State, by the next IWC meeting in July 1979 or earlier, thereby subjecting the whaling activities of Chilean nationals to the conservation measures of the IWC as of that time.

In light of these developments, I believe trade sanctions should not now be imposed. In the event the Government of Chile has not completed its arrangements to join the IWC or otherwise adhere to IWC quotas before the next IWC meeting, I intend to reassess this position and take such additional actions as may be warranted. I will send to you a supplemental report at that time.

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Chicago: Jimmy Carter, "International Whaling Commission Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report.," Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1979 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1979 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.2300-2302 266–267. Original Sources, accessed June 16, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3WSTJHCFGFLK7A2.

MLA: Carter, Jimmy. "International Whaling Commission Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report." Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1979, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1979 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.2300-2302, pp. 266–267. Original Sources. 16 Jun. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3WSTJHCFGFLK7A2.

Harvard: Carter, J, 'International Whaling Commission Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report.' in Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1979. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1979 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), Pp.2300-2302, pp.266–267. Original Sources, retrieved 16 June 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=3WSTJHCFGFLK7A2.