As a part of old traditions in Norway, hunting for minke whale is being done in Norwegian waters. After a five year break, whaling started up again in 1993. In Norway, whale hunting has always been done in combination with traditional fisheries.

The Norwegian whaling is sustainable and legal. Norway’s resource management is based on the principle of sustainable use of natural resources. The harvesting of marine resources, including whales, is based on scientific criteria.

Some whale species need protection, while others are abundant. Minke whales are not an endangered species in our areas, and the hunt is a legal, traditional, small scale coastal activity.

Annual quotas are set on the basis of procedures developed by the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Norway has 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.

The estimated number of minke whales in Norwegian water is more than 100 000 animals. The quotas are based on procedures developed by the science comittee in The International Whaling Commission (IWC).

This comittee estimates the numbers to be more than 100.000 individuals.

Number of minke whales caught

Year  Number of whales Quota
2000  487 655 
2001  552 549 
2002  634 674 
2003  647 711 
2004  543 670 
2005  639 797 
2006  545 1052 
2007  593 1052 
2008  535 1052
2009  483  885 
2010  468 1286  
2011  533 1286 
2012  465 1286 
2013 594  1286 
2014 736  1286 
2015 660 1286
2016 591 880
2017 432 999
2018 454 1278
2019 429 1278

Source: Directorate of Fisheries

Minke whales are hunted from vessels between 40 foot and 80 foot, with crew from 4 to 8 persons. Hunting happens in the Norwegian economic zone, in the zone aronund Svalbard, Jan Mayen and in international waters.

Hunting season starts in april and ends in august/september. All vessels need to mount a tachograph ("blue box"), surveillance system. This will register all hunting activity. 

There is also a large crew of inspectors to make sure rules are being followed. Hunters need to take an annual course where killing and security are key topics.