Norway’s main fish sales group has decided to call off the annual whale hunt along the country’s coasts this year due to a low demand for whale meat. The organisation that handles the sale and distribution of the whale meat, Norges Rafisklag, claims there simply aren’t enough customers to warrant continuing the hunt.
As of 23 June, the whale hunt was officially suspended, according to SIKUnews. Any fishing boat already approved for the purchase and production of whale meat is exempt from the suspension, and can continue hunting whales if they so choose. But Rafisklag won’t guarantee to buy the meat.
The Norwegian Broadcasting company (NRK) says the Rafisklag has enough whale meat already, and doesn’t want to be obligated to accept more since it fears it won’t be able to sell it all. The group will honour its delivery agreements with ships still holding whale meat, however.
The Rafisklag brokers the sale of fish hauls from some 4,800 Norwegian and foreign-owned fishing vessels. They deliver the seafood from Nordmore northwards to Finnmark. The group deals directly with more than 200 registered fish buyers.
Many whalers were unhappy with the decision to suspend the whale hunt because they feel demand will increase in the autumn. “In recent years, producers have run out of whale meat early in the autumn, and haven’t been able to meet market demand until new whale meat arrives in the spring,” Bjorn-Hugo Bendiksen of the whale-hunting organisation Norges Smakvalfangerlag told NRK Nordland.