The annual whaling season in the North Atlantic began on April 1. And in just 30 days, 15 minke whales ranging 6-8 meters have been harpooned by 3 vessels. Norway, whose whaling season lasts until the end of August, hunts and kills minke whales using explosive penthrite grenade harpoons.
The Norwegian Fisheries Minister set the minke whale quota for 2017 at about 999, up from 880 whales in 2016. In 2018, 454 minke whales were hunted off Norway. The country has increased its annual quota for 2019 to 1,278 – up 28 per cent.
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 vessels reduced from 350 in 1950 to just 11 in 2017. Hunters argue global warming, which is causing whales to seek out colder waters, and high fuel prices are having an impact. But animal rights activists claim a lack of consumer interest is the reason for the decline.
“Greenpeace believes Norway should take the logical consequences of the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling, the widespread opposition to whaling, as well as the lack of local market for the products, and close down this unnecessary and outdated industry,” says Truls Gulowsen, the head of Greenpeace Norway.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) previously released documents that indicates Norwegian fur farms have used minke whale meat to feed animals raised for the country’s fur industry.
According to Slaget om kvalen (“Battle of Agony”), a documentary that shows grisly footage of Norway’s whaling industry, 90% of the minke whales hunted and killed each year in Norwegian waters are female and almost all of them are pregnant.
Norway has killed more whales than Iceland and Japan combined and is the world´s biggest commercial whaling nation. Despite intense outcry from conservation groups, Norway refuses to abide by the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) 1986 ban on commercial whaling.