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New documentary reveals that the majority of minke whales caught by Norway are pregnant

According to a documentary shown on Norwegian TV about 90% of minke whales hunted and killed by Norwegian whaling vessels are females and the majority of those are pregnant.

The film, ‘The Battle of the Whales’, which contains gruesome scenes, has been publicised on a news website in Norway and its airing follows a recent announcement by Norway´s fisheries minister, Per Sandberg that he would like to double the number of minke whales killed to nearly 2000 and sell the meat to the EU.

Norway is already the world´s biggest commercial whaling country, and the number of minke whales it intends to kill during the 2017 hunting season is 999 – despite the fact that few people in Norway actually eat the meat.  In 2016, Norway’s quota was 880 whales.

Sandberg cites computer modelling as a justification for his massive proposed increase. 

During the summer between 15 and 20 Norwegian whaling boats hunt for minke whales in Norwegian waters. In 2016, 591 minke whales were harpooned by 17 Norwegian whaling ships.

Dag Myklebust, a Norwegian whaler featured in the documentary declares openly that female minke whales are usually pregnant when they come to Norwegian waters.

The news piece suggests that most of the time each female adult whale killed represents two whales caught as the vast majority have a foetus inside them.

“The revelations of the film are absolutely shocking”, says Astrid Fuchs, programme lead at WDC. “Given the fact that a vast majority of the whales are pregnant, the minister´s proposed doubling of the quota would mean close to 4,000 whales could be slaughtered each year in European waters”, Fuchs concludes.