Greenpeace condemns whale hunts

Norwegian and Japanase whaling fleet set sails

Press release - 7 May, 2004
Despite public condemnation Japanese and Norwegian whaling fleets will set sail next week for their annual hunt. "The justification surrounding the whale hunt is based on deceit and shows a total disregard for scientific fact," said John Frizell of Greenpeace.

The Norwegian government plan to take 670 minke whales in the only openly declared commercial whale hunt in the world, while the Japanese government aim to kill 210 minke, Bryde's, sei and sperm whales in the North western Pacific in a so called "Scientific" whaling programme. Iceland, the world's third whaling nation, has not yet made a decision on this year's take or if their "scientific" research programme will continue.

"The real reason behind the hunt is the absurd and unscientific claim that whales are eating too many fish and as a result harming fisheries. Whales are a natural part of the ecosystem and the real cause of declining fish catches is over fishing, not hungry whales," added Frizell.

Norway falsely portrays the hunt as serving local needs even when the Norwegian market is saturated with whale meat. Despite marketing efforts, freezers in Norwegian supermarkets are piled high with unsold whale meat from the 2003 hunt. Japan's hunt is equally commercial but is carried out under the sham that it is for 'scientific' reasons, despite the fact that the body for which the 'research' is being done, the IWC, does not need the data being produced and has called for the programme to be ended.

All the meat from the Japanese whaling operations, except sperm whale meat, which is too toxic to market, will be sold on the open market in Japan. The 'researchers' sold 3,000 tonnes of whale meat this way last year for 52 million dollars.

Greenpeace continues to campaign to bring an end to whaling, as it has done for nearly thirty years. Currently Greenpeace are actively campaigning against the resumed hunt in Iceland, which plays an important role in stopping the pro whaling lobby group, lead by the Japanese government.

Supported by the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace embarked on a public tour in Iceland in September 2003 to present an offer to the Icelandic Government that shows the clear economic and environmental gain in choosing tourism over whaling.

"Iceland is just a tool used by the whaling lobby. Japan and Norway persuaded Iceland to join them in whaling so they will be less isolated. If Iceland gives up whaling, it will defeat the move by the whalers to expand the number of countries in an effort to make whaling more respectable," said Greenpeace campaigner Frode Pleym.

Greenpeace will be campaigning at the annual IWC-meeting in Italy this July for the moratorium on whaling to be respected and for the IWC to shift its focus away from catching whales to the conservation of whales

"Commercial whaling has always been a disaster for whales. The only management scheme for whaling that shows any signs of success is the moratorium on commercial whaling and we want it maintained," concluded Frizell.

VVPR info: For video contact Maarten van Rouveroy, +31 646 19 73 22, for stills contact: John Novis, +31 653 81 91 21