Annual whale hunt suspended

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Norwegian fishermen’s own sales organization has decided to suspend this year’s whale hunt off the Norwegian coast. The group,

Norges Råfisklag , claimed there’s not enough demand for more whale meat.The agency suspended the hunt as of 3pm on Tuesday. Fishing vessels approved for the purchase and production of whale meat were exempted from the suspension, if they choose to keep hunting.

The Råfisklag , (called the “Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organisation” in English), doesn’t want to be obligated to take in more whale meat beyond what’s already been caught, reports Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), for fear it won’t be able to re-sell it. The group said it would honor delivery agreements from vessels with remaining inventory.

The sales group claims its aim is “to safeguard fishermen’s incomes and contribute to sustainable and profitable growth in the Norwegian fishing industry.” It handles the sales of catches from around 4,800 Norwegian and foreign fishing vessels that deliver from Nordmøre north through Finnmark. The Råfisklag works with more than 200 registered fish buyers.

Last year’s total catch, including cod, king crab, whale and other fish, amounted to more than NOK 6 billion.

Some whalers were upset by the suspension of the hunt, claiming that latent demand for whale meat will surface in the fall. “In recent years, producers have run out of whale meat early in the autumn, and haven’t been able to meet market demand until new whale meat arrives in the spring,” Bjørn-Hugo Bendiksen of whale-hunting organization Norges Småkvalfangerlag told NRK Nordland.

Norway’s annual hunt, which has long defied an international ban on commercial whaling and angered environmental groups, begins every spring and usually lasts into August. This year’s quota allowed for 750 whales to be hunted along the Norwegian coast, in the Barents Sea and around Svalbard. Another 135 could be hunted around Jan Mayen.

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