Neah Bay: Judge clears way for Makah whaling

NEAH BAY — The Makah have again been cleared to hunt gray whales.

The clearance came from a federal judge’s Friday decision denying activists’ requests to temporarily stop all whaling.

U.S. District Court Judge Franklin D. Burgess’ decision comes exactly three years after Makah tribal members killed their first whale in several decades, on May 17, 1999.

The written order reinstates the tribe’s right to hunt whales and lifts a temporary restraining order on whaling that Burgess issued earlier this month.

No decision has been made on the claims of anti-whaling activists that the federal government violated federal laws by allowing whale hunts. Nor did the judge rule on whether a hunt endangers about 250 “resident” gray whales living in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Burgess’ ruling states “there is not a substantial likelihood” that whaling foes will succeed with their lawsuit.

Their claims show that “the only potential hardship facing the plaintiffs is the potential for aesthetic, emotional and economic harms,” Burgess wrote.

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The rest of this story appears in the Sunday Peninsula Daily News. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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