Although the European Union is trying to establish a unified position against whaling within its member nations before the upcoming International Whaling Commission (IWC) summit, Denmark has already stated it will vote against the EU line on the issue. The Copenhagen Post reports that Denmark is prepared to back Greenland since the EU proposal will likely reject an amendment concerning Greenland’s request for an increased whaling quota.
The Danish government admits, however, that their vote will probably be a moot point, as an EU block vote against the act of whaling in general is the expected outcome of the summit. But because the EU is itself not a member of the IWC, it has no power over individual EU member states with regard to IWC voting.
It is the IWC who ultimately makes the rules over whaling quotas, including what species are allowed to be hunted in Greenlandic waters. Greenland is presently allowed to catch 212 minke whales, 19 fin whales and two bowhead whales each year under IWC provisions. Humpback whales are off limits.
Because Greenland’s requests have been ignored by the current authorities within the IWC, Finn Karlsen, Greenland’s minister for hunting and fisheries, asked the foreign minister to consider pulling Greenland out of the IWC.
Whaling is banned in all EU territorial waters. But outside its boundaries in the waters of non-EU Norway and Iceland, whaling continues.