Whaling in Norway

Whaling in Norway

Whaling in Norway is a centuries long tradition in Northern Norway. Only Minke whaling is permitted, from a population of 107,000 animals in the North East Atlantic and is argued by proponents and government officials to be sustainable.Aftenposten Newspaper: [http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article2243265.ece Whaling quota draws fire] ] Still it has been frequently criticized by foreigners and animal rights groups as Norway, among Iceland and Japan, is one of few countries that still allow whaling.

Norway registered an objection to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) commercial whaling moratorium, and is thus not bound by it. In 1993, Norway resumed a commercial catch, following a period of five years where a small catch was made under scientific permit. Norwegian Minke whale catches have fluctuated between 218 animals in 1995 and 646 in 2003.

Prior to the moratorium, Norway caught around 2,000 Minke whales per year. The North Atlantic hunt is divided into five areas and usually lasts from early May to late August. Norway has exported a limited amount of whale meat to the Faroes and Iceland. It has been attempting to export to Japan for several years, though this has been hampered by concerns in the Japanese domestic market about the effects of pollution in the blubber of the North Atlantic Minke whale.

In May 2004, the Norwegian Parliament passed a resolution to considerably increase the number of Minkes hunted each year. The Ministry of Fisheries also initiated a satellite tracking programme of various whale species to monitor migration patterns and diving behaviour. The tagging research program has been under way since 1999. [cite web | url = http://www.iwcoffice.org/_documents/sci_com/2002progreports/SC-54-ProgRep%20Norway.pdf | publisher = International Whaling Commission | title = Norway. Progress report on cetacean research, January 2001 to December 2001, with statistical data for the calendar year 2001 | accessdate = 2006-12-03]

Since 2006, when the Norwegian whaling quota was increased by 30%, Norwegian whalers have been allowed to hunt a quota of 1,052 Minke whales a year. Since the 1993 hunt resumption the Norwegian quota has rarely been fully met.


Animal rights and anti-whaling groups have commented that given Norway's economic position it is paradoxical that this is one of a very small number of countries actively engaged in, and favouring the continuation of, commercial whaling. This is despite the argued negligible contribution that whaling makes to the economy, and despite opposition from around the world. [cite web | url = http://www.wspa-usa.org/pages/543_norway_set_to_kill_more_whales.cfm | title = Norway set to kill more whales | publisher = World Society for the Protection of Animals | accessdate = 2006-12-04] Many supporters of whaling agree that its macroeconomic importance is negligible, but hold that the livelihood of individuals and small firms depend on it and that sustainable development depends on human harvesting of all non-endangered species, [cite web | url = http://www.highnorth.no/ | title = High North Alliance | accessdate = 2006-12-04] and that it is an important part of culture in coastal areas. Norway's whaling today is limited to the non-endangered Minke whale, which are killed using explosive penthrite grenade harpoons, which also accounts for more than 90% of the catch in Norwegian waters since the 1920s.


External links

* [http://www.norway.org.uk/policy/environment/whaling/whaling.htm Official Norwegian minke whaling] : Norwegian Government environmental policy site explaining Minke whaling policy (English).

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