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Supporters rally to save whales

Opponents of commercial whaling will meet at 10 a.m., Sunday at the Main Beach Cobblestones in Laguna Beach.

Signatures will be gathered to protest the proposed removal of the moratorium on commercial whaling, allowing whaling to resume for a period of 10 years City Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, who has been collecting signatures for several weeks, will introduce speakers in opposition to the resumption.

Among those scheduled to speak are California Assemblyman Pedro Nava and Long Beach 5th District Councilwoman and Orange County Democratic Party Executive Director Gerrie Schipske. Also scheduled: Doug Thompson, author and award-winning film-maker; Dave Anderson, who filmed the documentary “Wild Dolphins & Whales of Southern California,” and Mike Bursk, captain of the Dana Point Ocean Institute’s R/V Sea Explorer for six years.

The Laguna Beach gathering will be held in conjunction with Western Alliance for Nature demonstrations in all 15 California coastal counties.

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All petitions will be sent to President Obama asking him to keep his promise to oppose whaling and direct the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission. He will be asked to refute an announcement on April 15 that the United States will lead the effort to broker an agreement that would allow commercial whaling for the first time in almost 25 years.

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986. The proposed resumption would legalize commercial whaling and allow it in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Enforcement of quotas would be entrusted to Japan, Iceland and Norway, countries accused of violating the moratorium, according to a press release issued by California Coastal Commissioner Sara Wan and Laguna Beach resident Penny Elia. The current quota on gray whales would be tied to the commercial quotas. s

The proposal comes at a time that marine environmentalists say may be critical for gray whales because the calf count is going down.

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For more information, visit website wanconservancy.org or call Wan at (310) 456-6605 or Elia at (949) 499-44999.



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