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Cablegate: Norway Uncompromising On Whale Catch Limit

VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNY #0767 3450646
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110646Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8041
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHRK/AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK PRIORITY 0895

UNCLAS OSLO 000767
STATE FOR OES/OPA - LPHELPS
COMMERCE FOR IWC COMMISSIONER MONA MEDINA
SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV PREL IWC EFIS NO
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
accordingly.

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
January.

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.
WHITE

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