Norwegian whalers to dump whale products overboard: Signs of a dying industry


Contrary to claims that their whaling industry is a thriving, necessary part
of the national culture and economy, Norwegian whalers are facing up to the
fact that no markets exist for their products. In statements made to the
Norwegian press today, the head of the Norges Smhvalfangerlag (Norwegian
Small-type Whaling Association) Jan Kristansen said that "no one will buy our
whale blubber"; Kristansen further said that unless the market situation
changes, that whalers will be forced to dump whale blubber and other whale
products overboard.

Kate O'Connell, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), says
that this is a clear sign that the commercial whaling industry is
unnecessary. "Not only have their cultural diets changed, leading to a
decreased demand for whale products, it has become clear that people both in
Norway and Japan have begun to realise that eating whale is not the healthy
activity that their governments would have one believe. "

O'Connell went on to state that, "Numerous studies have proven that there are
dangerous levels of contaminants, including PCBs and mercury, in Norwegian
whale blubber. Japanese consumer protection societies have asked their
government to ban the import of such products due to concerns for human
health. Anyone crazy enough to eat blubber at this stage would be engaging
in "Norwegian" roulette."

Some one million kilos of whale blubber are lying in freezer lockers in
Norway, a "blubber mountain" that has grown each year as consumers turn away
from buying an unhealthy, unwanted product. "Clearly, if the whalers
themselves have acknowledged that their products are not wanted, there is no
justification for Norway's commercial whaling. Nor is there any reason for
Norway to keep trying to remove the international CITES trade ban on minke
whale products. How can you trade in something no-one wants to buy?"

Even the Norwegian government has recognised that no markets exist. A
buy-out offer by the Fisheries Ministry came today, May 22nd. Meeting with
the whalers in the Tromso office of the Norge Rafisklaget (Norwegian Fish
Processors Association), Minister Svein Ludvigsen offered to pay the whalers
4 kroner a kilo to destroy the stored whale blubber, perhaps by burning it as
fuel oil. The whalers basically turned down the offer, claiming that the sum
wouldn't even cover their transport costs. "This offer highlights
conservationists' claims that whaling is a dying industry...only subsidies
such as this one can keep it afloat," said O'Connell.

Chris Stroud of the WDCS raised the concern that dumping or incineration of
such contaminated whale blubber overboard is a potential environmental
threat. "Given the levels of contaminants in the blubber, dumping this
product would actually contravene international regulations to protect the
marine environment. The OSPAR Convention (Convention for the Protection of
the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), of which Norway is a
contracting government, prohibits the disposal and burning of substances
which are likely to result in hazards to human health, and harm to marine
ecosystems. The IWC has also noted concern about toxic Norwegian whale
blubber. The Norwegian Fisheries Department must ensure that no blubber
dumping takes place."

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society calls on the delegates to the 54th
Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Shimonoseki,
Japan to demand that Norway stop all commercial whaling activities, to
refrain from issuing export permits for whale products, and to ensure that no
contaminated whale products are disposed of in a manner that would threaten
either human health or the marine ecosystem.


for further information, see www.wdcs.org or www.sea-red.org
or contact: Kate O'Connell tel 860 236 1521 or kayowdcs@aol.com

Notes:

(1) Organochlorine contaminants in northeast Atlantic minke whales,' Kleivane and Skaare, Environmental Pollution, vol 101 (1998) pages 231-239

The report found that average levels of PCBs in whale blubber were 3.8 ppm. The maximum level recorded was 20.8 ppm, the minimum was 0.6 ppm. 'ppm' means parts per million. The highest level allowed for total PCBs in marine products marketed in Japan is 0.5 ppm. The PCB limit in the US, Canada and France for fish products is 2 ppm on a wet weight basis.


(2) Whale blubber into the ocean

Published 22.5.2002 source:NRK http://www.nrk.no/distrikt/troms/nyheter/1864364.html

Hvalspekk p havet

Publisert 22.05.2002 08:41 - Oppdatert 22.05.2002 10:20

Whalers will throw whale blubber into the sea because no-one will buy it. So says the leader of the Norwegian Small Type Whaling Association, Jan Kristiansen. Kristiansen said to NRK that is a wrong waste of a natural resource, but that he beileves whalers have no other choice.

No one will buy the whale blubber. A million kilos of whale blubber lie in storage in Lofoten. The blubber mountain should have been exported to Japan for a sky high price. But international environmental opposition stopped that. No one will therefore buy blubber from this year's hunt, even if the blubber gets enormous cheap at ten ore a kilo. The only possibilty therefore is to throw the valuable cargo overboard, said Kristiansen.

The whalers will only take/keep the whale meat, only a tenth of the whale's weight, and heave the rest of the whale products into the sea.
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Hvalfangerne vil i r kaste hvalspekket p havet fordi ingen vil kjpe det. Det sier leder i Norges Smhvalfangerlag, Jan Kristiansen.

Kristiansen sier til NRK at det er galt slse slik med natur-ressursene, men mener at hvalfangerne ikke har noe valg.

Ingen vil kjpe spekket
Det ligger en million kilo hvalspekk p lager i Lofoten. Spekkberget skulle i r vrt eksportert til Japan til skyhye priser. Men det har internasjonal miljmotstand satt en stopper for. Ingen vil derfor ikke kjpe spekk fra rets hvalfangst, selv om de fr spekket veldig billig til ti re kiloen. Eneste mulighet er derfor kaste den verdifulle lasten p havet, sier Kristiansen.

Hvalfangerne vil bare ta vare p hvalkjttet, en tidel av hvalens vekt, og hive resten av hvalen p havet.