As the International Whaling Commission (IWC) met in Portugal recently, Denmark requested on the behalf of Greenland to include 10 humpback whales in its annual hunting quota. Greenland presently has hunting quotas for minke and fin whales, but the meat obtained from these species is significantly less than the amount allowed by the IWC.
The request split the commission and no decision was made. Instead a committee will be set up to further investigate the request.
SIKUnews reports that Greenland wants its annual quota to represent the equivalent of 730 tonnes of whale meat, as the IWC already agreed upon under the aboriginal subsistence programme. This programme, used mainly by the Inuit people, does not affect the risk of whale extinction. It also reflects the nutritional and cultural needs of the indigenous people of Greenland.
Denmark argued at the Portugal meeting that by adding humpbacks to the quota, it would bring the total meat haul to the amount allowed by the IWC. Greenland’s requests over the past two years for a humpback quota of 10 whales per year have been rejected each time. The new request asks for 10 humpbacks each year for the next three years.
Greenland has argued for a humpback whale quota of 10 per year for the last two years, but each time the application was rejected. The current application, supported by Denmark, requests 10 per year for the next three years. Among the dissenters, Germany claims Greenland has not clearly demonstrated a need for the humpback quota – but added the new committee will allow it that chance.