Last week Norway officially stated that it would not be able to catch enough whales this year to meet its allocated quota. Few nations still allow whaling, and animal activists are jumping on this opportunity to claim that this is proof Norway should abandon the highly controversial act of whaling.
Since the opening of this year’s whaling season on April 1, Norwegian fishermen have only been able to catch half of the number of whales allowed by government authorities. 533 minke whales have been caught out of an allowed quota of 1,052. The whaling season ended on August 31, and local fishermen were already admitting that they would fall far short of the quota weeks in advance, according to The Guardian.
Conservation groups such as Greenpeace claim that “this shows that people don’t want to eat whale meat anymore. The market is not there. The Norwegian government should stop supporting a dying industry and apply the 1986 international moratorium on whaling,” spokesman Truls Gulowsen said.
Whalers refute the idea that demand is falling. “We were able to meet the quota in the two best areas for whaling, around [the Arctic archipelago of] Svalbard and along the northern coast of Norway,” explained one whaler, who caught 23 animals this season. For many Norwegians, eating whale meat is as common as eating salmon or herring. Whale steaks are readily available at Norwegian supermarkets and on the menus of restaurants. The Norwegian government claims that although it is important to maintain the number of whales in the population, cultural traditions must also be considered.