Norway’s Persistent Drive To Sell Whale Meat – Even Japan Is Refusing It

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This recent shipment is not the first to have arrived from Norway raising concerns. Studies by the country’s own National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research has reported illegally high levels of organic contaminants, especially dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyl. These were uncovered in whale oil capsules manufactured for the domestic market.

Despite falling public support, and international outrage, the Norwegian government seems determined to boost sales of whale products, both domestically and internationally. They are subsidising research, and looking for new ways to market of new whale products. Meanwhile, the AWI and EIA are pushing for them to accept the international bans and stop hunting commercially hunting whales once and for all.

In 2014, Norwegian whalers killed a massive 736 Minke Whales, which is more than in any year since they defied the International treaty in 1993. 871 tonnes of whale meat were recorded. Sadly on 5th March 2015 it was announced by the Minister of Fisheries that self-allocated quota would remain unchanged this year, a move which has angered the WWF.

The government since 1992 has spent more than US $4.9 million on public information, public relations, and lobbying campaigns to garner support for its whaling and seal hunting industries, according to the report. In addition, government subsidies for the whaling industry have equalled almost half of the gross value of all whale meat landings made through the Rafisklaget, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organisation. – WWF on Whaling in Norway

During the 2008-09 season, the Japanese whaling industry needed US $12 million in taxpayer money just to break even. Overall, Japanese subsidies for whaling amount to US $164 million since 1988. – WWF on Whaling in Japan


The public appetite for whale meat is declining faster than ever, even in Japan which has traditionally been the most dominant global consumer.

“Japan has always been the main consumer of whale products,” says Perry.“It’s not fashionable at all. There’s an older generation in Japan that have a nostalgia about eating it, but it’s not in any way a staple diet,” she says.
As parodoxical as it sounds, the pesticides could be a line of defence for the whales. Perry reminds us that this is not something to be particularly happy about: “If we think it’s potentially dangerous for us to eat, you can imagine it’s not particularly healthy for a whale.”

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