4 min read

In The Deadliest Year Yet, Norway Killed Hundreds Of Whales For No Reason

<p><a class="redactor-added-link" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/826716983/sizes/l/">Martin Cathrae</a></p>

Norway's whalers killed 729 minke whales this season, despite falling demand for whale meat. There are only three countries that still hunt whales - Norway, Iceland and Japan - defying an international ban on whaling that has been in effect since 1986. (Japan's whaling industry claims the whales it harpoons are culled for scientific purposes, a practice debunked by experts.)

This year marks Norway's deadliest whaling season since the industry began ignoring the International Whaling Commission (IWC) ban. In a 2013 statement, the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries says the IWC "has become an exclusively conservationist organization that does not base its decisions on scientific principles," and Norway "has formally reserved the right to disregard" the IWC's zero-catch quota for minke whales.

Norwegians, however, are refusing to eat the whale meat. "We possess more meat than we can sell and that is not a favorable position to be in," says director of the Norwegian fishing company Åge Eriksen to NRK Nordland, translated by the Independent. Of 700 metric tons of whale meat, an estimated 200 will go unsold.

That's good news for the whales, who were intensely hunted in the North Atlantic between 1952 and 1983 (although the International Union of Conservation of Nature lists the global minke whale population as stable).

Even Norway's fishery experts believe that the practice of whaling could die out over the next 10 years. And Norway's whaling industry should take note: When conservationists and consumers alike find whaling distasteful, perhaps it's time to call it quits.

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