Norwegian whaling season starts with highest quota in a decade

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Norway's whaling season started on Monday with the highest quota in over a decade. Fishermen are entitled to harpoon up to 797 whales before the end of the season on August 31st.

Last years quota of 670 was raised this year despite fishermen failing to reach their quota last year. Environmental activists from groups such as Greenpeace have denounced the increase. Speaking to the Associated Press, one activist said "Increased whaling is no solution for the problems along the coast." However despite international opposition, it is unlikely Norway will end whaling anytime soon.

Norway is the only country in the world to allow commercial whaling. Iceland and Japan do so solely on a research basis. Whale meat is used as steaks and in hamburgers and sausages in Norway. The number of whales caught by Norway has steadily increased since resumption of whaling in 1993, with the 226 caught that year rising to over 500 in 1997 and 670 in 2003.

The economic argument is that whaling provides employment and economic stimulant for fishery, logistic, restaurant and other related industries in developed countries. However many countries continue to argue that, if properly developed, whale-watching could be far more profitable and create far more jobs than whale killing.