Resolution on United States Whale Research

WHEREAS, the Whale Research Program of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF), employing two permanent biologists, is the only source that develops basic information on the biology of whales and the status of whale populations in the United States; and

WHEREAS, certain whale species are now classified as rare and endangered; and

WHEREAS, data assembled by biologists of the BCF at the Marine Mammal Biological Laboratory in Seattle have furnished essential knowledge to make protection of endangered stocks of blue, fin, humpbacked, right, and bowhead whales possible under international agreement; and

WHEREAS, reduction in baleen whale stocks has recently placed a heavy exploitive load on sperm whale stocks; and

WHEREAS, studies of sperm whale biology and populations that are now in progress, but incomplete, will furnish important information to prevent the depletion of sperm whale stocks; and

WHEREAS, the United States, without this research will be dependent on data being gathered by the U.S.S.R. and Japan for use in international negotiations; and

WHEREAS, the United States, by agreement under the International Whaling Commission, has a responsibility to obtain knowledge of whales; and

WHEREAS, interest in whales by the general public in the United States continues to increase and problems such as pollution and development as potential hazards to the gray whale and severe attrition to certain small cetaceans by the tuna industry all require study and action; and

WHEREAS, the indication has been advanced that the Whale Research Program of the BCF may be abandoned in 1970;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists requests the President of the United States and the Secretary of the Interior to reconsider their decision to eliminate the whale research program at a time when many whale stocks are low, and also to increase the national effort to gain knowledge necessary to the intelligent management of the whale resource.