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Norway raises limit on number of whales hunters can slaughter

Country raises annual quota by 28 per cent to 1,278

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 07 March 2018 21:55 GMT
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A dead minke caught by whalers from Japan, another country which permits hunting the marine mammals
A dead minke caught by whalers from Japan, another country which permits hunting the marine mammals (AP)

Norway has announced it is raising the number of whales it will allow hunters to slaughter despite an international moratorium on the practice.

The country has increased its annual quota to 1,278 – up 28 per cent – despite whalers killing just 432 last year, less than half the 999 allowed.

The move is a bid to revive an industry that has failed to meet Oslo’s quotas for years and has seen the number of whaling boats reduced from 350 to just 11 in the past 70 years.

“I hope quota ratios and pooling of catchment areas will provide a good starting point for a good fishing season for the whaling industry”, said Per Sandberg, Norway’s Minister of Fisheries.

Norway and Iceland are the only countries in the world to publicly allow whaling. Japan also kills the giant mammals, but officially does so for scientific research despite much of the meat being sold for food.

“Norway has a viable whaling industry, despite zero subsidies, and Japan is the only market outside Norway”, Mr Sandberg added, according to Norway Today. “That is impressive. I want to make sure that the whaling remains alive.

Activists ride whale carcass in anti-whaling protest

“Whale meat tastes good and it is good for health.”

Norway considers itself exempt from a 1986 international moratorium on whaling after it formally objected to the move. The Scandinavian country resumed hunting minke whales in 1993, but has seen a steady drop off in the numbers killed in recent years.

Hunters argue global warming is causing whales to seek out colder waters further away from Norway, making it harder to catch them. They also say high fuel prices are having an impact.

Animal rights activists suggest a lack of people wanting to eat whale meat is the reason for the decline.

In September, the European Parliament urged Norway – which is not part of the European Union - to halt all whaling, and said the EU “must ensure that no whale meat transits through its ports”.

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