Norway is facing severe criticism from environmental campaigners over the “unforgivable” killing of hundreds of whales in the country this year, despite reports of declining interest in whale meat.
Norwegian whalers killed more than 570 minke whales in the 2021 season, the highest number in five years, wildlife charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said on Monday.
According to data obtained from the Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organization, the WDC said that figure was up from 503 whales last year.
“Killing hundreds of minke whales is completely unforgivable, especially given their vital role in our oceans,” said WDC policy manager Vanessa Williams-Gray.
“Whales are our allies in the fight against climate change.”
The figures come just days after more than 1,000 dolphins were killed as part of a traditional hunt in the Faroe Islands, which sparked outrage from animal rights campaigners.
During the hunt about 1,500 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed with knives and harpoons, known in the area as grinddrops.
On Monday, the WDC warned that whale activity between the surface and depth of the ocean helps circulate essential nutrients through the ocean and maintain a healthy marine system that stores carbon.
Interest in eating whale meat has fallen among Norwegians in recent years, according to a poll conducted by NOAH, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and WDC, Norway’s largest animal protection charity.
Research that surveyed more than 1,000 Norwegians found that just 2 percent ate whale meat, down from 4 percent in 2019, and no one under 35 indicated they ate it often.
Only a quarter (24 percent) of those questioned said they ate whale meat, but very rarely, while 29 percent said they had eaten it a long time ago.
The poll also showed that there was support among Norwegians to restrict whaling in areas important for tourism.
“Live whales can play an important role in Norway’s tourism economy, as Iceland and Greenland are already responsible whale-watching and other ecological activities,” said Susan Millward, director of AWI’s marine animal programme. Have got recognition by making a sanctuary for it.” .
“We urge the new government of Norway to listen to its citizens and establish similar whaling-free zones, especially in key tourist areas such as Svalbard and Finnmark.”
However, Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, argued that the government had recently noticed “increased interest” in Norwegian whale meat.
“Quotas on minke whales are determined based on scientific knowledge approved by the IWC’s Scientific Committee, and are caught in a sustainable manner,” Mr Ingebrigtsen said.
“Plus, whales are healthy and good food, and Norwegians want minke whales on their dinner plate.”
PA. Additional reporting by
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /