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Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why he did not raise at the International Whaling Conference the fact that the motion to impose a moratorium and to allow an increase in the quota for the bowhead whale was permitted without the required 60 days' notice as laid down in the rules and procedure of the conference.

The proposal for a moratorium was made within the rules of procedure, but was formally withdrawn. I understand that the Commission is at present seeking legal advice on the validity of the decision on bowhead whales.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by what legislative measures legal protection is given to toothed whales within United Kingdom fishery limits.

The Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act 1934, as amended by the Whaling Industry (Sperm Whales) Order 1937 and the Fishery Limits Acts 1976, prohibits the taking or treating of any species of baleen or sperm whale within United Kingdom fishery limits.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps were taken at the International Whaling Commission to prevent the continued slaughter of whales; and if he will make a statement.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report 25th July:1978] gave the following revised information:The thirtieth annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission was held in London from 26th to 30th June. The Commission agreed to recommend an overall reduction in the existing catch quotas, leaving aside the North Pacific sperm whale stock which will be considered again at a special meeting later this year.

There is already a ban on catching the less abundant whale species, and controls based on stock levels regulate the taking of the other species. No whales may be taken within the United Kingdom's 200 mile fishing limit.