The Whaling Industry Today - Norway and Japan

Essay by spoonman419College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Norway has resumed whaling back in 1993 with an international agreement in accordance with an International Whaling Convention. Since then, the Norwegians have consumed an average of 1000 tons of whale meat per year. Obviously, this is not enough to make whale meat part of the usual Norwegian diet, but it is used in a great deal of culinary delights in which other countries, such as Japan, would like to partake. In 1987, the whaling industry in Norway was halted due to ambiguity surrounding the methods used in retrieving the whales and general uncertainty about the whale population. The International Whaling Commission lifted the ban in 1993 after discovering that the Whaling industry posed to real threat to the whale population.

The minke whales, which are the ones primarily pursued by Norwegians for their meat, are estimated at about 760,000 in the Antarctic Ocean, according to the International Whaling Commission. There are currently about 500 of these minke whales killed legally every year. Countries like Japan, who is known to have an insatiable appetite for whale meat, want to recommence commercial whaling based on scientific studies supporting their claim that the minke whale population would not be in any jeopardy. Tokyo begun a scientific research whaling program in 1987 that measures whale migration patterns, population trends and diet. Because most of the meat ends up in restaurants if not used in research, many of claimed that Japan is using the research program as commercial whaling in disguise.

Information gathered in Japan's research indicated that the population of many whale species has increased so much, that the sheer volume of food they need has become a threat to fish populations. Whales eat 250 to 500 million tons of fish each year, which is from three to six times...