Countries have long had whaling programs and some have come under intense spotlight to stop the practice of killing whales.
If your immediate thought was that Japan was the country that killed the most whales, you would be wrong. But Norway would be happy.
Norway, unlike Japan, has not been in the spotlight for its whaling hunt. But a report released in June has found that Norway kills more whales than Japan and Iceland combined.
Diplomatic pressure and animal activist attention have put the attention mainly on Japan and Iceland. In Japan, there’s even been international legal action again the country’s whaling practice.
In the meantime, Norwegian whaling has boomed, exploiting loopholes in international whaling and trade bans
and using unapproved science to set its own quotas for hundreds – sometimes more than a thousand –
whales a year, according to the report from the Animal Welfare Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization.
With fewer people domestically eating whale meat, Norway has been exporting meat to Japan. It is also, according to the institute, funding the development of new food supplement and pharmaceutical products derived from whale oil in an effort to secure new customers, both at home and abroad.
Norway began resuming commercial whaling in 1993 after filing an objection to the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling which was enacted in1982.
Since that time, Norwegian whalers have killed more than 11,800 minke whales, most in the last decade. During that time, Norway has systematically dispensed with national monitoring and control measures, as well as the IWC’s scientific requirements for setting quotas, the institute says.
It has also become much less transparent about the management and welfare implications of its hunt, refusing to provide data to the IWC. Norway has even sought to make whales the scapegoat for global overfishing. Norwegian whalers have exported more than 230 tonnes of whale products in the past 15 years under a reservation to the international ban on commercial trade in whale products implemented by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Not satisfied with this, Norway also tried repeatedly to overturn this ban.