Subject: IWC: Norwegian whalers open new hun (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Tue, 5 May 1998 15:18:48 -0400 (EDT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue,  5 May 98 13:17:00 GMT 
Subject: Norwegian whalers open new hun

Norwegian whalers open new hunting season

    OSLO, May 4 (Reuters) - Norwegian whalers began this year's
hunting season at the weekend with the highest quota since the
country resumed commercial catches in 1993, officials said on
     "I know of at least one boat that has started the hunt,"
Halvard Johansen, director of the Fisheries Ministry, told
Reuters. The daily Aftenposten said whalers set out secretly,
hoping to foil any protests by environmentalists.
     Norwegian whalers in 35 licensed boats are allowed to
harpoon 671 minke whales in the northeast Atlantic this season,
up from 580 in 1997, Johansen said. The season lasts until the
end of July.
     Norway, where whale-meat steaks are eaten, broke with an
International Whaling Commission moratorium when it resumed
whaling in 1993 with a catch of 293 minke whales. Quotas have
since been raised, though fishermen usually fail to kill the
allowed number.
     Norway says the number of minke whales, which grow up to
about 10 metres (33 feet) long, have recovered to 112,000 in the
northeast Atlantic.
     Environmental groups such as Greenpeace say stocks are under
threat and have tried in past years to disrupt the hunt. More
radical activists groups have sunk whaling boats.
     "But things have been more quiet in recent years,"
Johansen said. Norway reckons that opposition to whaling is on
the wane.
     The commission, which will hold its annual meeting in Oman
later this month, is considering a plan by Ireland to ban
whaling on the high seas while allowing some hunting in coastal
areas for local consumption under the strict control of the
     Ireland has wanted a compromise after the number of whales
killed surged to 1,043 in 1997, many by Japanese and Norwegian
whalers despite the moratorium.