Norwegian whalers have killed at least 575 minke whales in 2021 — up from 503 slaughtered last year. 14 vessels participated in the whale hunt, according to statistics provided by the Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organization.
This number of whales killed is the highest in five years, despite the dwindling public appetite for whale meat. In a recent survey, only 2% of the more than 1,000 people polled indicated they eat whale meat regularly, down from 4% in 2019.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) placed a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982 but Norway has publicly opposed it and has resumed commercial whaling. For the 2021 whaling season, they had an annual kill quota of 1,278 minke whales which has been unchanged since 2018.
Norway has hunted whales in its own waters since the 9th and 10th centuries. As new whaling techniques were discovered — such as the exploding harpoon cannon and factory ships for processing whales at sea — expansion of the industry increased dramatically.
The practice destroyed local blue whale and fin whale populations so the whalers turned their attention to whales in other regions. These regions include the Antarctic, the Faroes, Iceland, southern Africa, and Newfoundland. By the 1930s, the Norwegian whalers ruled the global whaling industry, accounting for over half of all whale killings.
Norway didn’t want to let go of its whaling dominance and refused to abide by the IWC moratorium. Its government was one of the few to register a formal ‘objection’ to not be bound by it.
Today, Minke whaling in Norway is conducted by fishermen — a majority that continues fishing activities outside of the whaling season.
At Karmagawa and SaveTheReef, we’re sad that so many whales are killed for profit. We’re using our channels to make everyone aware of this tragic news so that we can help stop the madness once and for all. We can accomplish so much together!
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(Cover image: Islandjems – Jemma Craig/Shutterstock)