Norway Dramatically Ups Its Whaling Quota
WDCS has just learned that the Norwegian minke whale quota for 2010 has jumped by some 45% from the 2009 limit. Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg Hansen, speaking at a meeting of the Norwegian Minke Whalers Union in Svolvaer, Norway today announced that next year’s quota for minke whales will be set at 1286, up from the previous quota of 885. The Minister said the overall take will be further broken down according to area, with 1016 whales able to be killed in Norwegian coastal waters; the remaining 270 whales can be hunted off the more-distant Jan Mayen island chain.
The announcement stunned conservationists, given that the hunt in 2009 had to be shut down for a period of time due to a lack of demand for whale meat. The final kill tally for 2009 was 484 whales, the lowest number taken in Norway’s commercial whale hunt in a decade. Chris Butler-Stroud, CEO of WDCS, said. “Such a huge quota defies both logic and any pretence of claims of sound management. Norwegian whalers haven’t taken their full quota in years, as demand for whale meat has dropped and no one is buying. This is nothing more than the empty rattling of harpoons, and it is clear these quotas are being set more for political show than anything else.”
The announcement by Minister Berg Hansen comes on the eve of closed door discussions on a possible “deal” on commercial whaling. An International Whaling Commission committee, known as the Support Group, is meeting in Seattle, Washington this weekend, and WDCS questions the point of continuing such negotiations in light of continued bad faith shown by the whaling nations. “Japan’s fleet is on its way to the Antarctic, Iceland is planning to export millions of kilos of whale meat, and now Norway piles on in with this new quota. Why are conservation-minded governments even engaging at this stage?” said Butler-Stroud.
The 2009 quota was 885 animals.
For more information on falling demand for whale meat and the reliance of Norway’s industry on government subsidies to survive click here.