During the 2022 whaling season, Norway slaughtered at least 580 Minke whales, which is the highest number in six years. Together with Japan and Iceland, Norway is one of the three nations in defiance of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling but is the country that has killed more whales since this was enacted. Since 1986, more than 15,000 have been killed by Norwegian whalers. This is despite a 2021 survey showing that 6 of 10 Norwegians disapprove of whaling.
Siri Martinsen, veterinarian and head of the Norwegian animal protection organisation NOAH, said, “This has gone on for 40 years too long. Now the catch must be discontinued… In addition, this year the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment produced a report which shows that we have very poor knowledge of the minke whale population. This too should justify an end to whaling.”
Kate O’Connell, a marine wildlife consultant for Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), said, “As consumer polls show, Norway’s domestic market for whale meat is dwindling, and the country’s whaling industry relies on Japan to keep its head above water… Already this year, 226 tons of whale meat have been shipped to Japan; a second shipment of 124 tons is imminent. Norway is tarnishing its reputation around the globe by defying the international commercial whaling moratorium, and undermining an international trade ban on whale products. Healthy whale populations are an important tool in tackling climate change, yet the industry continues to peddle whale meat for dog food or dump it into the sea.”
Vanessa Williams-Grey, the campaign coordinator at Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), said, “Many Norwegians have been misled for decades by propaganda from the whalers suggesting that they need to kill whales because they eat too many commercially valuable fish. In fact, research over the last 10 years shows that the more whales we have, the better it is for marine ecosystems.”