April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium on commercial whaling, Norway and Iceland continue to hunt minke whales in the North Atlantic as they objected to the agreement.
WDC and other groups are calling on the EU to take further action to reinforce its opposition to the hunts ahead of this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Brazil in September.
“The member states of the European Union must no longer tolerate commercial whaling in European waters. We expect concrete political and diplomatic steps towards Iceland and Norway,” said Astrid Fuchs, Programme Lead at WDC today.
Both Norway and Iceland are struggling to maintain interest in whaling as demand for whale meat falls and fewer whalers take part.
Norway’s government has increased the quota for its whalers to 1278 whales from 999 last year. This is despite the fact that the whalers only managed to kill 432 whales in 2017, the lowest total for 20 years. The majority of whales killed in recent years were female and many of them were pregnant.
In Iceland, where much of the demand for whale meat comes from tourists, a quota of 209 whales has been set even though only 46 and 17 minke whales were killed in the last two years. Even more controversially, the influential whaling millionaire, Kristjan Loftsson has a quota for 154 endangered fin whales. However, he has refrained from whaling for the past two years due a lack of export orders from Japan.