Subject: Whaling/Norway:Defying ban, Norway raises wha (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 10:36:47 -0500 (EST)


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Date: Thu,  1 Jan 98 22:40:00 GMT 
Subject: Defying ban, Norway raises wha

Defying ban, Norway raises whale catch quota again

    OSLO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Norway said on Saturday it would
raise its whale catch next year to the highest level since it
resumed commercial hunting in 1993 in defiance of an
international moratorium.
     But the new centrist government which came to power in
October angered whalers by extending an export ban on whale meat
and blubber.
     The Fisheries Ministry said whalers could harpoon 671 minke
whales in the north-east Atlantic next year, up from a quota of
580 for 1997. In fact, whalers caught only 503 animals this
year, blaming rough seas.
     "Next year's quota means a considerable rise compared to
the actual catch this year," Fisheries Minister Peter Angelsen
told a meeting of whalers in Svolvaer, northern Norway.
     Norway broke with the International Whaling Commission (IWC)
moratorium in 1993 when it approved a quota of 293 minke whales.
     Quotas have been raised most years since then. Norway says
stocks of minke whales, which grow up to about 10 metres (33
feet) long, have recovered to more than 100,000 in the northeast
     Yet fishermen have failed to catch the full quota each year
since, repeatedly saying that high seas made it hard to spot and
harpoon the dark-coloured mammals when they surface for air.
     The 1998 quota comprises a basic 621 whales plus 50 rolled
over from unfilled quotas this year. Fishermen have long
campaigned for quotas around 2,000 animals per year, whose meat
is eaten as steaks.
     Whalers expressed disappointment with Angelsen's refusal to
lift a ban on exports of whale products, which blocks lucrative
markets in Asia, Norway's NTB news agency said.
     It quoted whalers as saying that blubber sold for just two
crowns (27 cents) per kg in Norway when it could fetch up to
1,900 per kg in Japan, where it is considered a delicacy.
     "I am speechless with disappointment," whaler Jan
Kristiansen said. "This new government has obviously inherited
the awfulness of the previous government."
     Angelsen said that there was no international consensus to
allow a resumption of whale exports and that Japan would not
grant import licences. "So for the time being it's not possible
to export blubber," he said.
     Despite Norway and Japan's isolation in hunting minke
whales, there have been signs that the moratorium may be
     At a meeting in Monaco in October, the 39-member IWC gave a
green light to new chairman Michael Canny, Ireland's whaling
commissioner, to draft a plan to build a consensus between its
smaller pro-whaling and larger anti-whaling camps.
     Canny himself proposed lifting the moratorium on commercial
whaling. He suggested limiting the hunt to coastal areas and
strictly for local consumption, while banning hard-to-monitor
whaling on the high seas and stopping the killing of whales for
  ($ - 7.226 Norwegian Crowns)