In mid-May, Norway once again began its annual minke whale hunt, setting a quota of 670 whales to be killed through the end of August. But by 2006 the quota could be almost tripled to 1,800 whales, and may eventually expand to other species of whale.
In late May the Norwegian Parliament passed a resolution calling for an increase in the quota of minke whales to 1,800, and the Norwegian fisheries minister told the BBC that his country also wanted to begin using satellite transmitters to estimate the population size of other species.
Rune Frovik, a representative of Norway’s pro-whaling High Northern Alliance, told the BBC,
The resolution does leave some room for interpretation, though it’s pretty clear what Parliament wants, and the government will have to deliver.
We think the minke quota could be up to 1,800 by 2006. It’s not clear whether the scientific whaling being suggested should be lethal or non-lethal, but I don’t think the idea of killing whales is ruled out.
The proposal appears to apply in principle to virtually any species except bowheads and blue whales, though in practice I think the government is more interested in assessing stocks of fins, humpbacks, pilot whales and several dolphins.
According to the International Whaling Commission, about 1,400 whales are killed annually between Japan, Iceland and Norway. Increasing the quota would put that number over 2,500, and it would probably rise even further if Japan and Iceland decide, as they seem increasingly likely to do, to increase the number of whales they kill.
This proposal should add even more fireworks to the IWC’s annual meeting this July.
Norway seeks tripled whale catch. Alex Kirby, BBC News, May 28, 2004.
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