Norway Just Raised Its Whaling Quota, Despite Plummeting Demand

In yet another attempt to salvage a failing whale hunting industry, Norway has announced that it has increased the country’s whaling quota — much to the dismay of wildlife advocacy groups.

This decision comes as Oslo seeks to redraw fishing boundaries in its waters to try to support a declining industry.

The Independent reports:

The country has increased its annual quota to 1,278 – up 28 per cent – despite whalers killing just 432 last year, less than half the 999 allowed. 


“I hope quota ratios and pooling of catchment areas will provide a good starting point for a good fishing season for the whaling industry”, said Per Sandberg, Norway’s Minister of Fisheries. 

Norway does not consider itself bound by the international moratorium on whaling that came into force in 1986. The country infamously resumed minke whale pursuits in the 1990s, but the practice is becoming increasingly unsustainable as consumer demand for whale products has plummeted. Processing whale meat has also become more expensive, and fossil fuel costs have increased. That makes it more pricey to launch whale expeditions from the outset — not to mention how damaging the practice is in terms of fossil fuel release.

Despite these realities, Norway seems intent on perpetuating its whaling industry. But why?

Norway thinks that exports could save its industry.

Norway’s population actually doesn’t support whaling. That’s been clear for a number of years now. What’s more, those products that were once made via whale butchery — for example, various oils and skins — are now outdated, and they’ve been replaced by more readily available products.

However, Norway has found that it’s able to export some of these whale products to Iceland — another country that holds fast to its hunting traditions. While that has only created a small market, Norway has been eying another target: Japan.

Japan is, of course, notorious for flouting international rules and using the “scientific exploration” excuse to increase its quotas and catch as many whales as possible. This disregard for the moratorium has sparked fierce criticism from the International Whaling Commission and other bodies, but without enforcement parameters, world governments – save for Australia – appear to be largely indifferent to this issue

Norway has even gone so far as to join with Japan to stop further controls on whaling from being passed at the international level. The country has also started to limit exports.

In fact, there’s even evidence that Norway is using whale meat in animal feed in order to justify the tax exemptions and benefits it gives to the industry.

As welfare groups point out, though, this tradition comes with major unnecessary suffering and fatalities for some of the most intelligent animals on the planet.

Whaling is cruel and completely unnecessary.

Whaling involves pursuing whales across significant distances, oftentimes until the mammals are completely exhausted.

At this point, the whales are harpooned. Explosive harpoon charges are rarely fatal on first hit, so many whales must be harpooned several times before they die. Often, wounded whales are dragged to the vessels that have harpooned them, forcing their heads underwater for long periods so that they suffocate. Whales may also be speared or shot multiple times.

Given their extraordinary intelligence, it’s likely that whales feel pain in ways that are analogous to human sensations. We might safely assume, then, that they are dying in fear and agony.

It’s worth repeating that whaling is entirely unnecessary. Norway’s economy doesn’t hinge on whaling, and it certainly does not need whaling as a commercial draw, given that most people perceive whaling as barbaric.

Truls Gulowsen, the head of Greenpeace Norway, tells the Guardian that this latest move to raise the whaling quota makes little sense:

Greenpeace believes Norway should take the logical consequences of the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling, the widespread opposition to whaling, as well as the lack of local market for the products, and close down this unnecessary and outdated industry. Norwegian whaling belongs to the past, is only maintained for narrow political reasons and should be phased out as quickly as possible.

So when will Norway’s government finally come to its senses and stop this terrible industry?

Photo Credit: Sarah Nichols/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you

Mark Donner
Mark Donner10 months ago

Norway is swimming in oil, and yet their corrupt, nasty government insists on murdering all wildlife. They're full of sadists and murderers like that Norwegian who gunned down that kid on that island. Norway is a renegade backwards fascist country, that not only kills whales and seals, they send their murdering inbred cousins in their pink oil rich killing outfits on snowmobiles to kill off the last wolves. The wolves actually had to escape to Sweden to get away from the evil Norwegians.

Danii P
Past Member 10 months ago

Thank you

Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O10 months ago

In Australia we make millions on whale watching NOT whale murdering...Just like Ronald W says it is the same with Canada and the seals and the dog meat trade...these are not wanted by the vast majority of these countries populations, but the brain-dead politicians just wont stop. Their moneys could and should be placed into better business enterprises to enhance their country.

Danii P
Past Member 10 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Elsie O
Elsie A. O10 months ago

The Norwegian Greenpeace representative is right: Whale hunting belongs to the past. Norway is a progressive nation that should not be ruining its image with this barbaric practice. Whale watching is a much better tourist draw.

RONALD W10 months ago

It was like the seals in Canada that were hunted. People make a living what they did and did not want to stop and find other work. Coal miners in West Virginia don't learn a new way of making a living. Mine play out and the need for coal has played out. That is life as a miner is. Whale meat is dropping in sales and some people just don't want to stop hunting whales. For everything, Norway does that is good. As to why they backing whaling is beyond me!

Dai M
Bu M10 months ago


Leanne K
Leanne K10 months ago

Omg how can such a progressive country get it so wrong? Surely the average Norwegian must oppose the killing of whales. Horrendous!

Clare O
Clare O'Beara10 months ago

I have paid to take a boat whale watching. Tourist income.