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Norwegian Fisheries Minister defends controversial whale hunts

Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Per Sandberg, has released a lengthy opinion piece in local media regarding his country’s whaling and the need to support it, exclaiming that “I want to make sure that whaling stays alive!”:  The minister states that 2017 was the worst year for the industry for some time, with fewer vessels participating and fewer whales killed. Sandberg slams a recent EU resolution opposing Norwegian whaling and vows to fight to ensure that whale meat transits through EU waters and ports will continue. He denounces as a ‘vicious myth’ the idea that whales are endangered, claiming that Norway conducts a ‘balanced study’ of whales as sustainability is an important factor, along with animal welfare and the safety and livelihoods of whalers.

Whilst acknowledging that public demand for whale meat is falling, he states that the Norwegian government is spending a great deal of money on research to prove that whales eat “as much fish as humans do” and therefore, his government will seek in coming months to explain the reason for conducting its “legal and scientific hunt” and will support a marketing programme aimed at encouraging Norwegians – especially children and young people – to eat more whale meat as it is a tasty and healthy food.

 

Vanessa Williams-Grey, WDC’s campaign lead on Norwegian whaling commented: “Norwegian whalers killed 432 minke whales this season. A recent documentary revealed that around 90% of whales killed were female, the majority of whom were pregnant – meaning we can almost double that already grim tally. The whales are harpooned or shot with rifles, dying in terror and agony.  As for the argument that ‘the whales eat all the fish’, that old chestnut has been rebutted by scientists – the fact is that healthy whale stocks go hand-in-hand with healthy fish stocks. Any blame for declining fish populations lies squarely with humans. By contrast, WDC celebrates whales as ‘ecosystem engineers’ helping to keep our oceans healthy.

‘We also strongly encourage everyone, whether tourist or local, not to support this unnecessary and cruel industry by eating whale meat. Is a steak harvested from a terrified pregnant whale really that appetising? If you or friends are visiting Norway this year, please check out our flyer.’

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