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                                                      Calendar No. 728
115th Congress    }                                      {      Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session       }                                      {     115-425
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

 

               WHALING CONVENTION AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2018

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 of the

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 2369







[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]






               December 11, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                   ______
		 
                     U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 
		 
89-010                    WASHINGTON : 2018                 



















       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred fifteenth congress
                             second session

                   JOHN THUNE, South Dakota, Chairman
ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi         BILL NELSON, Florida
ROY BLUNT, Missouri                  MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
TED CRUZ, Texas                      AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
DEB FISCHER, Nebraska                RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Connecticut
JERRY MORAN, Kansas                  BRIAN SCHATZ, Hawaii
DAN SULLIVAN, Alaska                 EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
DEAN HELLER, Nevada                  TOM UDALL, New Mexico
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma            GARY C. PETERS, Michigan
MIKE LEE, Utah                       TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin               TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia  MARGARETWOODHASSAN,NewHampshire
CORY GARDNER, Colorado               CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, Nevada
TODD C. YOUNG, Indiana               JON TESTER, Montana
                       Nick Rossi, Staff Director
                  Crystal Tully, Deputy Staff Director
                    Jason Van Beek, General Counsel
                 Kim Lipsky, Democratic Staff Director
           Christopher Day, Democratic Deputy Staff Director













                                                      Calendar No. 728
115th Congress    }                                      {      Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session       }                                      {     115-425

======================================================================



 
               WHALING CONVENTION AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

               December 11, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Thune, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2369]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 2369) to authorize aboriginal 
subsistence whaling pursuant to the regulations of the 
International Whaling Commission, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of S. 2369 is to amend the Whaling Convention 
Act of 1949\1\ to allow Alaska Native subsistence whaling. It 
would require the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to act if 
the International Whaling Commission (IWC) fails to give Alaska 
Natives any whaling quota. In absence of action by the IWC, the 
Secretary would be required to establish catch limits for any 
given year, according to all limits and regulations of the IWC, 
and issue any regulations necessary to implement this Act 
within 3 years of its enactment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\16 U.S.C. Sec. 916 et seq.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Background and Needs

    Subsistence hunting is an important way of life for 
indigenous communities including those in northern and western 
Alaska and Washington. Alaska State laws define subsistence 
hunting and fishing as the noncommercial customary and 
traditional uses of fish and wildlife, to include such things 
as follows: food, sharing, construction materials, fuel, 
clothing, tools, transportation, and handicrafts. In addition 
to ensuring a critical source of food, whaling rights are 
extremely important to many Native American groups because they 
support cultural traditions, provide economic benefits, and 
help to maintain a sense of identity.

                    THE MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT

    The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA)\2\ was 
enacted in response to growing concerns among scientists and 
the general public about the health and population size of 
various marine mammal species. A signature piece of the MMPA 
was the establishment of a moratorium on the taking (defined as 
hunting, harassing, capturing, or killing, or attempting to do 
so) of marine mammals in U.S. waters. That Act authorized the 
Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior to issue permits for 
the taking of marine mammals for certain purposes. The MMPA 
shifted all marine mammal management authority to the Federal 
Government, dividing the species among the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS), with all whales managed by NOAA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\16 U.S.C. Sec. 1361 et seq.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The moratorium on taking of marine mammals generally does 
not apply to Alaska or Washington Natives, as section 101 of 
the MMPA\3\ contains provisions allowing for the taking of 
marine mammals for subsistence use. However, the Secretaries of 
Commerce and the Interior may regulate the taking of a depleted 
species or stock, regardless of the purpose for which it is 
taken.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\16 U.S.C. Sec. 1371.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION

    The IWC is an inter-governmental organization established 
under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of 
Whaling (Convention) to provide proper conservation of whale 
stocks and manage whaling. The IWC consists of 88 member 
governments from countries all over the world. There are 
specific measures that the IWC has collectively decided are 
necessary to regulate whaling and conserve whale stocks. These 
specific measures are an integral part of the Convention. 
Uncertainty over whale stocks in 1986 led to a moratorium on 
commercial whaling. This moratorium remains in place, although 
the IWC continues to set catch limits for aboriginal 
subsistence whaling and research.
    Alaska Natives have been hunting bowhead whales for 
traditional subsistence purposes for thousands of years. This 
right is protected under the MMPA and by the IWC, and hunting 
is allowed for registered members of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling 
Commission. The total allowable harvest quota for bowhead 
whales is determined by the IWC. The IWC bases this quota on 
the following: (1) the nutritional and cultural needs of Alaska 
Natives; and (2) the size and growth of the bowhead population. 
This harvest is reviewed every year and the quota is generally 
set in 5-year increments. The currently approved quota covers 
the years 2013 through 2018, and allows Alaskan and Chukotkan 
whalers to land up to 336 whales over this 5-year period. The 
IWC adopted an automatic renewal to reauthorize quotas for 
Alaska Natives in September 2018, so long as harvests remain 
scientifically sustainable.
    Alaska Eskimos are prohibited from taking either bowhead 
calves or whales accompanied by calves. And only licensed ship 
captains or crew may engage in whaling. In addition to 
harpoons, rifles may be used to expedite the kill. The Alaska 
Eskimo Whaling Commission established a weapons improvement 
program, which has both improved the hunting efficiency and 
well as provided a more humane method. The whole process 
usually involves the entire village, and the whale is shared 
extensively within the Eskimo community. The meat, fat, baleen, 
and bone are distributed throughout the village.
    Though the IWC has always granted the United States' 
request for an Alaska Natives quota, subsistence quotas have 
been a point of contention. In 2012, no quota was given to 
Greenland for subsistence purposes for the 2013-2018 seasons, 
despite a request that was consistent with the IWC's Scientific 
Committee. As a result, Greenland set its own quota. S. 2369 
would provide a similar mechanism for the United States to set 
its own quota if the IWC fails to approve a request.

                         Summary of Provisions

    If enacted, S. 2369, the Whaling Convention Amendments Act 
of 2018 would do the following:
     Require the Secretary of Commerce to establish 
            sustainable catch limits for the Alaska Native 
            aboriginal subsistence hunt for any year if the IWC 
            has not adopted catch limits for that year.
     Require the Secretary to issue any regulations 
            necessary to implement these actions within 3 
            years.
     Direct the Secretary to review and update the 
            regulations as needed, at least once every 5 years.

                          Legislative History

    S. 2369, the Whaling Convention Amendments Act of 2018, was 
introduced on February 8, 2018, by Senator Sullivan (for 
himself and Senators Murkowski and Whitehouse) and was referred 
to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of 
the Senate. On April 25, 2018, the Committee met in open 
Executive Session and by voice vote ordered S. 2369 reported 
favorably without amendment.
    On February 15, 2018, a companion bill, H.R. 5064, the 
Whaling Convention Amendments Act of 2018, was introduced by 
Representative Young and was referred to the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
    On June 5, 2012, in anticipation of that year's upcoming 
IWC meeting, S. 3262, the Whaling Convention Amendments Act of 
2012, was introduced by Senator Begich (for himself and Senator 
Murkowski) and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation of the Senate. A similar companion 
bill, H.R. 5898, the Whaling Convention Amendments Act of 2012, 
was also introduced on June 5, 2012, by Representative Young 
and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the 
House of Representatives.
    On October 31, 2017, the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation of the Senate held a hearing on subsistence 
issues entitled ``Exploring Native American Subsistence Rights 
and International Treaties.'' On April 25, 2018, the Committee 
held a hearing on the MMPA entitled ``Enhancing the Marine 
Mammal Protection Act.''

                            Estimated Costs

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 2369--Whaling Convention Amendments Act of 2018

    S. 2369 would amend the Whaling Convention Act of 1949 to 
authorize the Secretary of Commerce to set catch limits for 
subsistence whaling by Alaska Natives in any year for which the 
Secretary determines that the International Whaling Commission 
(IWC) has not adopted such limits. To ensure sustainability of 
the whale population, any catch limit would be set on the basis 
of the IWC's most recent stock assessment. The bill also would 
require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA) to issue regulations for implementing the bill.
    According to NOAA, the bill would mostly codify current 
policies and practices for the process of setting limits on 
subsistence whaling. Therefore, CBO estimates that implementing 
S. 2369 would have no significant effect on federal spending.
    Enacting S. 2369 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 2369 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 2369 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       number of persons covered

    S. 2369, as reported, would not create any new programs or 
impose any new regulatory requirements. Therefore, it would not 
subject any individuals or businesses to new regulations.

                            economic impact

    Enactment of this legislation is not expected to have a 
negative impact on the Nation's economy.

                                privacy

    The reported bill is not expected to impact the personal 
privacy of individuals.

                               paperwork

    S. 2369 would not create increases in paperwork burdens if 
enacted.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title.

    This section would provide that the bill may be cited as 
the ``Whaling Convention Amendments Act of 2018.''

Section 2. Amendment of the Whaling Convention Act of 1949.

    This section would amend the Whaling Convention Act of 1949 
by allowing the Secretary of Commerce to authorize aboriginal 
subsistence whaling according to the regulations of the IWC. 
This would include establishing catch limits for any given year 
if the IWC has not adopted such applicable catch limits for 
that year, according to all limits and regulations of the IWC.

Section 3. Implementing regulations.

    This section would require the Secretary to issue any 
regulations necessary to implement this Act within 3 years of 
its enactment. In addition, the Secretary would be required to 
review and update the regulations as needed, and at least once 
every 5 years.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                     WHALING CONVENTION ACT OF 1949


                        [16 U.S.C. 916 et seq.]

SEC. 6A. ABORIGINAL SUBSISTENCE WHALING.

  (a) In General.--The Secretary of Commerce, or such officer 
as may be designated by the Secretary, shall authorize 
aboriginal subsistence whaling pursuant to paragraph 13 of the 
regulations of the Commission (or any successor to such 
paragraph), if such whaling--
          (1) is for subsistence purposes (including the sale 
        of authentic native articles of handicrafts and 
        clothing);
          (2) does not include the striking, taking, or killing 
        of calves or any whale accompanied by a calf; and
          (3) is not accomplished in a wasteful manner.
  (b) Catch Limit.--
          (1) Requirement to establish.--The Secretary of 
        Commerce shall establish catch limits for the Alaska 
        Native aboriginal subsistence whale hunt for any year, 
        if the Secretary determines that--
                  (A) the Commission has failed to adopt catch 
                limits applicable to the hunt for such year; 
                and
                  (B) the biological status of the affected 
                stock is such that, based on the most recent 
                review of the status of such stock by the 
                Scientific Committee of the Commission, the 
                aboriginal subsistence needs statement 
                submitted by the United States to the 
                Commission of that year is sustainable.
          (2) Limitation.--The catch limits established by the 
        Secretary under paragraph (1) shall satisfy the Alaska 
        Native subsistence needs described in a statement 
        submitted by the United States to the Commission, and 
        shall include carryover at the level accepted by the 
        Scientific Committee of the Commission in its most 
        recent review of the subsistence whaling quota.
          (3) Construction.--Nothing in paragraph (1) relieves 
        the United States Commissioner of the Commissioner's 
        obligation to continue seeking adoption by the 
        Commission, pursuant to the paragraph 13 of the 
        regulations of the Commission (or any successor to such 
        paragraph that permits aboriginal subsistence whaling), 
        of catch limits that provide for Alaska Native 
        aboriginal subsistence needs.

                                  [all]