Letter: Whaling is out of control

GEOFFREY Lean ignores evidence that commercial whaling is out of control and uncontrollable ("Plenty more whales in the sea", 17 May). This year the Nor- wegians awarded themselves a quota of 671 minke whales, over double the number for 1993, when they restarted commercial whaling in defiance of the International Whaling Commission. They now want to turn back the clock to the days when they killed 2,000 whales annually - exactly the levels that led the IWC to declare it a protected stock.

Fuelling this is the prospect of making large profits from selling whale meat to Japan. In addition, the Japanese market for whale meat provides a cover for smugglers and investigations have uncovered meat from endangered fin, sei and humpback whales. Mr Lean ignores the fact that any legitimisation of commercial whaling would put endangered species at greater risk. At the IWC meeting in Oman, Japan used the votes of Caribbean states it has bought to stifle criticism and enforce secret votes. They failed because of the efforts of the UK gov- ernment, anti-whaling groups and others derided by Mr Lean - he should keep better company.