Minke Whale Legal

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In 1903, Peder Bogen of Sandefjord and Christian Nielsen of Larvik brought their whaling operations to the Shetland Islands. At first, whalers were greeted by local herring fishermen, whose nets were often damaged by whales. After the first whaling season and poor herring catches, fishermen turned against the whalers. Fishermen believed that the entrails and blood of the whale carcass attracted sharks and scared herring. In 1904, an official committee found no link between whaling and herring stocks. Although catches suffered for years, fishermen insisted on blaming whalers and protests led to many new restrictions. After World War I in 1920, new objections to whaling convinced Norwegian companies to leave the country. [15] However, in an attempt to expand the whaling fleet, the Norwegian government has relaxed the conditions for participation in minke whale hunting this year. Scientists estimate that 2.9 million whales were killed commercially during the 20th century, causing the catastrophic decline in global whale populations. According to some estimates, sperm whales were decimated to a third of their population before whaling and blue whales up to 90%. „The more we learn about whales, the more we realize they provide ecosystem services at different scales,“ Friedlaender said. „The presence of whales and the abundance of whales can actually stimulate growth because they circulate nutrients that limit the environment — and if you remove a lot of animals from a small area, you can affect the productivity of that ecosystem [and] disrupt the balance of the ecosystem. And if you remove a major predator that eats a lot of forage fish or a particular species of prey, there will be opportunities for other species to come in and change the structure of the ecosystem, and that can have consequences that we don`t know about.

„As part of ancient Norwegian traditions, minke whale hunting is practised in Norwegian waters. After a five-year hiatus, whaling resumed in 1993. In Norway, whaling has always been practiced in combination with traditional fishing. Whale meat consumption is declining in Norway. A 2019 survey commissioned by AWI and other animal welfare groups found that most Norwegians have little interest in eating whale meat: 575 whales were killed in 2021, up from 503 in 2020 and 429 in 2019. This is the highest sum since 2016, but again well below the quota, which begs the question: why set such a high quota when (thankfully) it is never reached? Part of the answer lies in the Norwegian government`s defensive attitude towards whaling and its desperate desire to increase domestic demand for whale meat and export whale meat to Japan, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In Iceland, where tourism has accounted for more than 8% of the country`s GDP in recent years, whale watching has also become a popular and highly profitable industry. In fact, it is now more profitable than whaling. More than 100,000 tourists a year (one in eight visitors) observe whales in Iceland; In 2010, whale watching tours contributed $6.3 million directly to the economy and had a total economic impact of $16.4 million.

Some tour operators said it was „likely“ that whale watching tourism would be even more valuable to Iceland`s economy without whaling, which many see as detrimental to Iceland`s image as a natural destination. A 2003 study found that more than 91 percent of whale watchers surveyed said they would not do whale watching in a country that hunted whales, and 79 percent said they would boycott a country that hunts whales. As whale meat consumption declines worldwide, more and more people are interested in seeing the animals in the wild rather than eating them, and the whale watching industry – which depends on keeping whales alive – has become an important aspect of tourism in countries around the world. „Walking around Tromsø, it`s easy to be impressed by the number of places where whales are for sale. As if killing whales – if most of the rest of the world abides by the international ban – wasn`t enough, it seemed doubly offensive to see Norwegian minke whale carpaccio on a harbour map for NOK 115 (around £11), the same price as onion rings and chips – and cheaper than a green salad! Can the life of a beautiful, sentient creature really be valued so cheaply? Whale droppings stimulate the growth of plant plankton, which absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen – they are also an important food source for small marine animals and fish, so whales help maintain healthy fish populations. Nothing in whaling is environmentally friendly – quite the opposite. Whales are our allies in the fight against climate change – when we kill them, we contribute to the destruction of our planet. In contrast, the WDC celebrates whales as „ecosystem engineers“ who help keep our oceans healthy.