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Whale Exports Victory For Common Sense

World Conservation Trust

Florida, USA, 21 January 2001

Norway should be congratulated for taking the initiative to grant export licences for Norwegian minke whale products, the IWMC World Conservation Trust said today.

“It makes perfect sense for Norway to sell its stockpile of minke whale products,” the President of the IWMC World Conservation Trust, Eugene Lapointe, said.

The International Wildlife Management Consortium (IWMC) is an international organisation devoted to the promotion of sustainable use as a conservation mechanism, to the protection of sovereign rights of independent nations and to the respect of cultures and traditions.

“Under Norway’s strict quota management system, minke whales in the Northeast Atlantic and North Atlantic Central stocks are sustainably harvested. It makes sense to utilise all of what’s caught, rather than let the product go to waste,” Mr Lapointe said.

“The worst crime against nature is waste. There is a huge amount of healthy food currently going to waste in Norwegian freezers. While searching for new sources of food to feed growing population, marketing the surplus whale products is the only morally and politically correct option.

“Non-use of natural resources is not conservation, it is total protection. Conservation means sustainable utilisation. The continued ban on the export of minke whale products has led to Norwegian whalers in the north leaving their homeland for the cities to find work at the expense of their way of life, their culture and their families. Poverty is the worst enemy of conservation,” Mr Lapointe said.

World Conservation Trust

Norway had stockpiled several hundred tonnes of whale blubber because they have a palate only for the meat.

Mr Lapointe, formerly the Secretary General of the Convetion on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) said Norway’s decision was in keeping with the long-term perspectives of Norwegian whaling policy, which aimed to normalise the sustainable whaling industry and its operating conditions.

“Norway never accepted, quite rightfully, that minke whales were included in Appendix I of CITES. Rather, it introduced a self-imposed ban on exporting whale products to keep with the spirit of the Convention.

“But when the Convention is subverted by countries that sign up to the agendas of so-called ‘Green’ organisations like Greenpeace, it is quite understandable and reasonable that Norway would lift its own moratorium after waiting so long for any movement on the trade of products from abundant whale species,” Mr Lapointe said.

“CITES, like the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling, is in desperate need of an overhaul. Norway’s reservation against the listing in CITES provides the country with a sound basis in international law for exporting whale products.”

Norway’s annual whaling quotas are set by the Government. The size of the catch is based on the recommendations of the Scientific Committee of the IWC. The quota for 2001 is 549 whales.

According to estimates carried out by the Scientific Committee of the IWC, the Northeast Atlantic and the North Atlantic Central stocks number 112,000 and 72,000 minke whales respectively.

“Trade in minke whale products do not in any way threaten the abundance of this population,” Mr Lapointe said.

The IWMC World Conservation Trust also said that the trade will be controlled trough an unprecedented DNA trade control scheme. The whale products could eventually be exported to Japan, Iceland and other countries.


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