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Viewing cable 07REYKJAVIK144, ICELAND WILL SUPPORT BOWHEAD WHALE QUOTA IF IWC SCIENCE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
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