Whaling: Ethics and sustainability

Norway's resource management  rests  on the principle of sustainable use of natural resources. The management and harvesting of marine resources, including whales, is based on the best available scientific evidence. Some whale species need protection, while others are abundant. Minke whales are abundant in Norway, and the hunt is a legal, traditional, small scale activity.

We have worked, and will continue to work, within relevant international fora, to develop measures that will protect endangered species and, at the same time, allowing for sustainable harvesting of abundant stocks. Whale meat is a healthy contribution to our diet, rich in omega 3 and unsaturated fats.

Norway has always attached great importance to international cooperation with regard to the management of whale stocks, in accordance with the principles laid down in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and we have chosen to work so that solutions may be devised within the IWC.

The work in the IWC’s Scientific Committee has been of considerable importance in respect of the resumption of Norwegian whaling operations. The Scientific Committee, at the request of the Commission, has long since developed a Revised Management Procedure (RMP), which was intended to replace the moratorium. Use of the RMP only sets catch limits for those stocks that can be harvested sustainably. 

We are not ignoring the so-called moratorium. Legally Norway have objected to the decision and are therefore not bound by it.

Last year 660 minke whales were caught, out of a quota of 1286. The estimated number of minke whales in Norwegian water is more than 100 000 animals.

To fulfil our obligation for international cooperation and maximize the potential for scientific evaluation and input we today base our decisions on advice from The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission. The commission was established by the Agreement of 9 April 1992 on cooperation on research, conservation and management of marine mammals in the North Atlantic Ocean.