Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:01

Greenland raises whaling quotas

Greenland raises whaling quotas IWC

The Greenland Government has decided to raise its whaling quota by 10 animals this year. The unilateral decision squarely opposes a vote taken during the 64th yearly meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in July 2012.

The proposal of Greenland to increase its catch limit was rejected by the commission with 34 votes to 25. All European country members of the commission except Denmark voted against whereas the United States voted for.

On that occasion, the Danish/Greenlandic delegation announced that Greenland was considering to either leave the IWC or to unilaterally set its own quota. Choosing the latter option, Greenlandic politicians emphasize that the increased quota is within the most recent recommendations of the IWC Scientific Committee, and that Greenlandic whaling is in compliance with IWC regulation of aboriginal subsistence whaling.

When Greenland claims that its catches are sustainable it seems to rely on allowances to carry forward unused or voluntarily reduced quotas to subsequent years explicated in the IWC regulatory framework for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

Seeing themselves as representing those that cannot represent themselves, animal rights sympathizers, Greenpeace and other critics of the raised quota – and of whaling in Greenland, in general – argues that, since whale meat is increasingly being sold in supermarkets and in restaurants in Greenland, Greenlandic whaling clearly has been commercialized.

The Greenland Government has set this year’s strike limits to 19 fin whales (up 9 compared to the IWC limit of the previous years), 2 bowhead whales, 10 humpback whales (up 1 compared to the IWC limit) and 190 minke whales.




Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat
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