2010 06 25- The International Whaling Commission agrees to quotas on killing humpbacks in Greenland Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

IWC harpooning humpback whales in 'horse-trading' decision
25th June 2010: Despite huge concerns from many delegations, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has just adopted a new quota for Greenland's so-called aboriginal subsistence whaling (ASW).

Greenland had requested an increase in its subsistence whaling quota of some 10 humpback whales a year, for a period of three years - the same proposal it has tabled unsuccessfully each year since 2007.

Despite repeatedly claiming, year after year, that it requires ever more whale meat, this year Greenland secured the quota by 'whale-trading' - agreeing to reduce its quota of minke and fin whales in exchange for 9 humpbacks even though it would get less, not more, whale meat out of the deal.

WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, has consistently argued that Greenland has failed to justify its claim to need more whale meat because so many of the whales it hunts end up on supermarket shelves rather than meeting the genuine subsistence needs of remote indigenous communities.

This year, WDCS provided new evidence to the IWC that hunters are 'whaling to order' for a commercial processing company that supplies supermarkets, and that whale meat is being sold in fancy hotel restaurants frequented by foreign tourists. 

Greenland's willingness to barter humpback whales for fin and minkes is further evidence that it does not need more whale meat. The tonnage of whale meat from the 22 minke and 9 fin whales it is 'surrendering' far exceeds what they will get from 9 humpbacks.

We fully expect humpback meat to make it into the same commercial distribution chains as the other species, perhaps even at a premium price because its flavour is apparently preferable in Greenland.

Sue Fisher of WDCS says, "Despite agreeing to maintain the moratorium on commercial whaling earlier this week, the IWC has just voted for commercial whaling. It makes no sense for Greenland to give up tonnes of whale meat when it says it needs more, unless there are commercial motivations in play. In one vote the IWC may have irreparably damaged its credibility by overturning a long-established process for approving subsistence quotas and condoning commercial whaling in the name of subsistence."

Fisher continues on the role of the EU who proposed a compromise that was ultimately adopted, "The EU came under huge pressure from Denmark to capitulate. Denmark has broken the back of the EU on this issue."

"Having previously refused to abide by the EU Common Position, Denmark has clearly indicated that it is not here to represent the views of millions of Danes but people in Greenland and the Faroes who want to conduct commercial whaling. This is not the democracy of the European Union we were promised, but the dominance of one country over 24 others" Sue Fisher from WDCS concludes.

WDCS video revealing new findings about the usage of whale products in Greenland is availabale online.

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