Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Norwegian Whale Blubber A Threat To Human Health

Amsterdam/Auckland 7 May 2002 - A report released today by Greenpeace reveals that whale blubber stored in Norway awaiting export to Japan is unfit for human consumption (1).

The report, written by independent scientists in Germany, concludes that the samples analysed are contaminated with halogenated-organic contaminants such as PCBs, DDT and brominated flame retardants (2).

"It would be irresponsible of the Norwegian Government to export whale blubber to Japan and irresponsible of the Japanese Government to sell it for food. It is unfit for human consumption and should be disposed of safely," said Thilo Maack, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner.

"If someone ate a piece of whale blubber the size of my thumb, they would be dosing themselves many times over the advisory limits of some of the most toxic compounds known to humans."

Japan and Norway have been discussing a resumption in the whale trade following Norway's decision in January 2001 to lift its ban on whale exports. The Fisheries Agency of Japan applied to the Trade Ministry for permission to import whale meat from Norway, but as yet no shipments have been made.

Norway's decision to begin exporting whale meat and blubber to Japan has been fuelled by the desire of the Norwegian whalers to profit from the high prices paid for whale products on the luxury food market in Japan. The export of whale products runs contrary to the ban imposed by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Norwegian traders have stockpiled 1000 tonnes of whale blubber. Last year, the Japanese Government put two hundred tonnes of unsold whale meat and blubber in storage due to the declining market for whale products in Japan.

The report confirms the fears of environmentalists and Japanese consumer groups that whale products are unfit for eating (3).

"The presence of such toxic chemicals in whale blubber shows the extent to which our oceans are contaminated and underlines how vital it is that whales are protected from hunting, and that the current international trade ban remains intact.”

“The status of minke whales hunted by Norway is uncertain and these results show that whales are vulnerable not only to commercial whaling but also wider environmental threats," said Maack (4).

Editor's Notes:

(1) "Evaluation of Contaminants in Meat and Blubber of Minke Whales" - Dr. Martin Hassauer, Jan Oltmanns, Dr. Klaus Schneider of Forschungs- und Beratungsinstitut Gefahrstoffe GmbH.

(2) These are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), amongst the most toxic chemicals known to humankind. POPs are particularly resistant to natural breakdown and accumulate in the fatty tissues of humans and animals. Mammals higher up the food chain, such as whales, are particularly vulnerable to POPs. In 2001, world governments agreed that POPs must be eliminated from the planet under the Stockholm Convention.

(3) A Norwegian university study estimates that the export market could reach NKr50 million (US $5.5million), if 20 per cent of the whale catch and 100 per cent of the blubber were exported. Most of the meat would be exported to Japan, where blubber is considered a delicacy. In protest against Norway's resumption of whale trading, some airlines are refusing to carry the product." Quest Economics Database World of Information Country Report April 24, 2000.

(3) "It is very surprising that the Japanese are encouraging the eating of whale meat with shoppers queuing for free samples of canned whale stew, deep-fried whale meat and blubber recipes in downtown Tokyo," Dr. Stone said. "Unfortunately, what these unsuspecting consumers probably received was a cocktail of toxins and contaminants that have made their way into our seas and oceans, particularly during the last 50 years." Parliamentary Secretary for the Antarctic, Australia, Dr. Sharman Stone, Media Release, 12 April 2002.

(4) There is evidence that toxic pollution, ship noise, ozone depletion, global warming, and overfishing threaten whale populations. For more information see the Greenpeace report, “Whales In A Degraded Ocean” (available on the Greenpeace website).

ENDS.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

 
 

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>

ALSO:

Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election