Norway's catch quota in 2017 increased from 880 to 999
Norwegian fisheries minister Per Sandberg wants to double the recently increased catch quota of 999 whales. He also wants to boost the export of whale products.
Norway is already the world's largest commercial whaling nation.
“Sandberg's comments are an intolerable provocation. The minister serves the Norwegian fishing industry and runs his vote catching on the back of the whale,” said Astrid Fuchs in German. He is the Program Director at WDC, the international whale and dolphin protection organisation.
Norway has already been at the receiving end of criticism. In February, the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries inceased the 2017 catch quota from 880 to 999 minke whales. Sandberg had accepted that a further increase would lead to international protests.
He said that based on their calculations, they could double the quota. However, he also admitted that Norway had failed to convince members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) of Norway's scientific approach.
In fact, for many years, Norway has been approving a higher catch rate than what the IWC would theoretically consider sustainable, ignoring the results presented by the IWC Scientific Committee.
As it is prohibited to export whale meat to EU countries, the Norwegian whaling industry is experiencing financial losses and a lack of demand. Norwegian whalers can only export to Japan, Iceland and Faroe Islands.
Sandberg aims to increase exports to Japan and seek entry into the EU market.
“The European Union has repeatedly called on Norway to stop the practice of and trade in whaling products. EU laws prohibit any trade in whale products. Sandberg is suggesting that it is possible to expand the market for whale meat, instead of admitting that Norway has missed the mark with its insistence on whaling,” said Fuchs.