Reprieve for whales- Greenland’s humpback request frozen

Humpback breaching

Humpback breaching

WSPA welcomes the International Whaling Commission’s decision to freeze a request by Greenland to kill 10 humpback whales.

Read yesterday’s story about the request >>

Many countries had significant concerns that Greenland’s subsistence whaling need was not properly substantiated. To avoid a divisive vote, Chair Bill Hogarth has proposed an intersessional scientific workshop to address the many questions over Greenland’s hunts and make a more informed decision in the future.

This will look specifically at the meat and blubber yield of whales caught, which was one of WSPA’s concerns. Denmark, on behalf of Greenland, accepted the proposal.

Claire Bass, Marine Mammal Programme Manager said: “There remains a huge question mark over Greenland’s true subsistence need so the Commission has absolutely done the right thing in rejecting this request at the 2009 meeting.”

Blurring the boundaries

In 2008 a WSPA investigation revealed that around a quarter of Greenland’s minke whale catches – some 40–50 whales – were purchased whole and processed commercially by a privately owned company, Arctic Green Food.

WSPA’s Exploding myths report has left a lasting impression on the Commission, raising concerns that Greenlandic hunts blur the line between aboriginal and commercial whaling, which are subject to different considerations.

WSPA believes that this is an important issue which must be properly addressed by the IWC.

“Subjecting these charismatic and intelligent animals to a cruel death by exploding harpoon is not a decision to be taken lightly. We hope that intersessional work will also shed more light on the ongoing commercialisation of the Greenlandic hunt and stop whales ending up on supermarket shelves,” concluded Claire.

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