Unnamed Resolution concerning Gray Whales in Scammon’s Lagoon

WHEREAS, the gray whale is limited in its distribution to shallow coastal waters of parts of the North Pacific, and breeds only in certain lagoons on the west coast of Mexico, and possibly still off Korea; and

WHEREAS, the gray whale, because of this limited distribution, has been extremely vulnerable to exploitation, and has twice during the last century been nearly exterminated; and

WHEREAS, nearly three decades of complete protection have been required to permit the gray whale population to increase substantially; and

WHEREAS, e largest breeding population of gray whales, which is found in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, or Scammon's Lagoon, is now jeopardized by proposed commercial developments in this lagoon; and

WHEREAS, the gray whale is of unique scientific interest because of its accessibility for experimental studies, and because it is the only remaining representative of its family; and

WHEREAS, the gray whale has unique educational and recreational value because it is the only species of large cetacean that is readily observed by the general public, and is an economic asset as a stimulus to the tourist industry; and

WHEREAS, the gray whale population will be capable of providing a maximum sustainable commercial kill only if the population is permitted to grow to near maximum size, and only if allowable harvests are based on sound biological data; and

WHEREAS, biological data on such important factors as population size and reproductive rate are inadequate;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists urges that the Governments of Canada, Mexico, Japan, the U.S.S.R., and the United States forego consideration of any proposed commercial utilization of gray whales until they have undertaken biological studies to provide a basis for rational management; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists urges the Government of Mexico to establish Laguna Ojo de Liebre (Scammon's Lagoon) as a breeding sanctuary for the gray whale, excluding from this lagoon commercial vessels and proposed port facilities.