Back in 2007 a humpback whale photographed close to Texel Island in the Wadden Sea, Netherlands was positively matched to a humpback whale photographed off Toe Head, County Cork, Ireland several months later. Several weeks after frequenting Irish waters, the same individual was re-sighted just 60km south of where it was initially recorded off the Netherlands.
It’s not often that whaling campaigners are left momentarily speechless –we’re too used to dealing with the unimaginable and standing up for the rights of those that have no voice – but events at this week’s Green Week fair in Germany left us open-mouthed and left others, some in high places, with egg on their faces.
Within the European Union it’s strictly against the law to harm a whale or dolphin. This means that it’s highly illegal to go whaling.
However, there appears to be nothing to stop ports and shipping companies making money out of helping to ship whale meat from non-IWC sanctioned hunts, through EU ports and on to Japan.
And that’s what’s happening at this very moment. European ports and shipping companies are funnelling whale meat from port to port and then on to Japan.
Just after Norwegian scientists reported concerns about levels of pollutants in Norwegian farmed salmon, Aftenposten reports that Norway has successfully lobbied the EU to allow farmed salmon to be exported to the EU which have been fed on foodstuffs with a higher levels of toxins than was previously acceptable.
Andrew Darby reporting in the Sydney Morning Herald that the impacts of whaling from some 30 years ago are still be seen in some populations of whales.
Lofotposten is reporting that as of this week, all 18 Norwegian whaling vessels that are registered to hunt this year are now actively catching whales, and some 180 minkes have been taken to date.
Well, one of my childhood heroes has apparently sold out the whales according to the Norwegian whaling industry.
Despite the best efforts of their Government and some artificial subsidies, it seems that Norway is running out of whalers.
In Iceland whaling is being kept alive by the greed of one family, but in Norway, "Norwegian kids, even those who grow up in the seafaring stronghold of Lofoten, simply don’t want to become whalers anymore."
So recounts National Georgraphics article, 'Viking Whalers'.
It seems that despite claims that its whaling is still acceptable to Norwegians, it seems that the Norwegian public's willingness to purchase and consume whale meat and products is still going the way of whaling all around the world – downwards at a steady rate.
http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/nordland/1.10994696 reports that only 17 boats are actually taking up the chance to hunt whales this year, down 10% on last year (20 vessels took up the chance in 2012).
The Norwegian whaling season has begun with hunters heading out to the Barents Sea, but the decline of the whaling industry in Norway is reflected the smaller number of boats taking part in the slaughter this year. Just 17 vessels are reported to have left Norwegian shores, three fewer than last year.
Despite whaling being on the decline in Norway and its fleet shrinking in size, the country has set the same high quota of over 1,000 minke whales for slaughter this year. Around 500 whales were killed in each of the previous two year’s hunts, which end in August.