Message to the Congress on Norwegian Noncompliance With the International Whaling Commission Conservation Program

August 4, 1986

To the Congress of the United States:

Pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, as amended (22 U.S.C. 1978(b)), I am reporting to you following certification by the Secretary of Commerce that Norway has conducted whaling activities that diminished the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation program.

Under the Pelly Amendment, when the Secretary of Commerce determines that a foreign country is conducting a fishing operation that diminishes the effectiveness of an international fishery conservation program, he will certify this determination to the President. After receiving a certification, the President may direct the Secretary of the Treasury to embargo the offending country's fishery products to the extent sanctioned by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Within 60 days following the certification, the President is required to notify the Congress of any action taken under the certification.

On June 9, 1986, Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige certified that Norway has conducted whaling operations that diminish the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program. Secretary Baldrige based his determination on the following: (1) the Norwegian harvest of minke whales in the North Atlantic was from two stocks for which the IWC had established zero quotas and (2) there had been no indication that Norway intended to comply with IWC standards.

Norway had objected to the IWC decision which resulted in the setting of zero quotas and, additionally, to the IWC classification of the primary stock whaled as a "protection stock'' which by definition prohibits commercial whaling. By objecting, Norway is not bound by these IWC decisions under international law. Even though the objections release Norway from any treaty obligation to observe the zero quotas, the taking of more minke whales than permitted under quotas is inconsistent with the international conservation standard and, in the absence of remedial or mitigative actions, diminishes the effectiveness of the Commission and its conservation program.

The Government of Norway announced on July 3, 1986, that it would suspend commercial whaling after the 1987 coastal whaling season and would reduce the domestic quota for 1987 from the total quota of 400 animals planned in 1986. Because the foundation of the effectiveness of the IWC conservation program remains the voluntary compliance of member governments, and the Norwegian decision contemplates compliance, even though delayed, with IWC zero quotas, I am not imposing sanctions upon Norway at this time.

I am making this decision on the premise that Norway will not allow the resumption of any commercial whaling after the 1987 season unless the IWC takes affirmative action to authorize such a resumption. Secretary Baldrige will continue his certification of Norway until the Government of Norway withdraws its objections to the IWC decisions mentioned above or the IWC authorizes the resumption of commercial whaling on stocks of interest to Norway.

I have therefore directed Secretary Baldrige, in cooperation with Secretary of State George Shultz, to monitor developments relating to Norwegian whaling carefully during the period of this certification. I will expect to receive any additional recommendations as may be warranted under the certification, and I will at that time reassess my position and take necessary action. I will send to the Congress a supplemental report at such time.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

August 4, 1986.