Viewing cable 07REYKJAVIK144, ICELAND WILL SUPPORT BOWHEAD WHALE QUOTA IF IWC SCIENCE
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|07REYKJAVIK144||2007-05-15 17:05||2011-01-13 05:05||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Reykjavik|
VZCZCXYZ0001 PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHRK #0144 1351704 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 151704Z MAY 07 FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3302 RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC INFO RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0340 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0025 RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0300
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000144 SIPDIS SIPDIS SENSITIVE STATE FOR EUR/NB MAHER AND OES FIELD USDOC FOR NOAA/NMFS HOGARTH AND MCCARTY COPENHAGEN FOR ESTH HUB E.O.12958: N/A TAGS: SENV EFIS KSCA PREL IWC IC SUBJECT: ICELAND WILL SUPPORT BOWHEAD WHALE QUOTA IF IWC SCIENCE COMMITTEE APPROVES REF: STATE 56397 ¶1. (SBU) Summary: DCM and Econoff delivered reftel points to IWC Commissioner Stefan Asmundsson who said that Iceland would support the U.S. bowhead whale quota if the Science Committee approved it. Asmundsson repeatedly stressed that Iceland is in favor of "the sustainable use of whaling" and therefore would support Japan's proposal if also determined to be sustainable. Iceland perceives the Conservation Committee as "anti-use" and feels there is no political will to support a Revised Management Scheme. Asmundsson asked whether there would be a resolution against current whaling operations and if so, would the USG support it. End Summary ¶2. (SBU) DCM and Econoff met with International Whaling Commission Commissioner and Ministry of Fisheries Director of International Affairs Stefan Asmundsson and one of his deputies, Hrefna Karlsdottir on May 14 to deliver reftel points. Asmundsson cordially began the meeting by announcing that because Iceland supports the sustainable use of whaling, they will support the U.S. bowhead quota renewal provided that "we are talking about sustainable levels" and the Science Committee supports it. Asmundsson stressed that it's not just about the number of whales but the stock structure and said the worse case scenario would be perhaps not a five year block quota but a one or two year quota. ¶3. (SBU) Asmundsson stated he put the US proposal in context with the Japanese proposal. He said they were not directly linked, but that Iceland would apply the same principles of sustainability to both. Asmundsson said the Japanese had already been in to see him but that he would not support the proposal if it were "just x number of animals"; he stressed that Iceland only supported sustainable whaling and the Japanese need to prove sustainability. ¶4. (SBU) Regarding a Revised Management Scheme, Asmundsson said he saw no indication that progress will be made. He mused that "if anyone has a good idea, we'd love to see it" but feels that without a change in the present political situation nothing would happen. Asmundsson said efforts should be focused on getting political backing rather than working on a new compromise proposal. ¶5. (SBU) Asmundsson described the Conservation Committee as "anti-use." He said in principle Iceland supports conservation but they have problems with the basis for the work of the committee. He said they tried to change the language of the committee's establishment resolution and then worked for two years within the committee to try to change its basis. He said Iceland can't take part now in the committee without a change in the committee's foundation then back-tracked and said they had not made a final decision about whether they will ignore the committee or wait for positive noises. ¶6. (SBU) Asmundsson asked whether we expect there to be a resolution against current whaling operations and if so, would the USG support it. ¶7. (SBU) Regarding Iceland's current commercial whaling operations, Asmundsson said there had been no decision on increasing the quota, but there was substantial interest in updating the existing whaling legislation that dates from the 1940s. He said the last of the 200 minke sample for the research program would be caught this summer and the data would be analyzed, but it was premature to close the door on the research program altogether. Asmundsson said should further information be needed then the program might continue and also added that no decision had been made on implementing the fin or sei whale portion of the original research plan announced in 2003. VAN VOORST