JAPAN DUMPS NORWEGIAN WHALE MEAT DUE TO PESTICIDE POISIONING, NORWAY RESPONDS BY INCREASING THE WHALE HUNT
In an alarming twist to the contaminated Norwegian whale meat headlines the Norwegian Government has announced that from 1st April this year to the beginning of June whaling vessels are free to kill as many Minke whales as they want and thereafter a quota of 1286 animals has been set.
Norway's controversial whaling has been widely condemned around the world, it is in direct contravention of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) with Norway objecting to paragraph 10(e) defining the 1986 moratorium. This year however the hunt has taken a more sinister direction to the detriment of the Minke whale and could make Norway the largest killer of whales on the planet in 2015.
Whale hunting is seen as a tradition associated with northern Norwegian coastal culture providing food for local consumption. In recent years however there have been attempts to commercialise the hunt and increasing amounts of whale meat have been sold on the world market, primarily to Japan. So when in March this year the Japanese government announced the dumping of Norwegian whale meat due to high contamination levels of the pesticides aldrin, dieldrin and chlordane *1 it was reasonable to assume that Japan would cease imports. However, the reality of the situation is completely the opposite with Japan continuing to purchase Norwegian whale meat and Norway alarmingly escalating its catch for 2015.
Proclaimed Sales Consultant to the Norwegian whaling industry Per Ronaldsen says there is greater interest to kill whales this year and that demand for meat is also greater. The vessel “Rowenta 2” killed the first whale on 12th April and so far 30 have been shot. Ronaldsen goes on to say that 22 boats are now registered to whale hunt and that up until the 1st of June they can kill as many whales as they want; after that date the quota allows vessels under 20m to kill 20 tonnes and those over 20m 30 tonnes.
Whale meat consumption in both Japan and Norway is falling so it is hard to comprehend the increase in the Norwegian cull until you realise that this year the Japanese whaling fleet (vessels Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru 2) returned home from the southern ocean with no dead whales for the first time in nearly 30 years. This was due to the International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations, ruling in March last year that Japan was abusing a scientific exemption. So, Japan is faced with a shortfall of supply when you consider that in the 2013-14 season they killed 251 minke whales under the guise of “research” and the meat was sold commercially. It is this shortfall that we believe Norway is now hoping to capitalise upon by allowing uncontrolled killing up until June 1st.
We will be following the whalers, finding out what Norwegians really feel about their nation becoming the worst whaling nation on earth (by number killed), questioning claims the kill is “sustainable” and looking in more detail at who is buying and most importantly who is eating the pesticides and mercury polluted whale meat.