Flying start to whale season: 30 animals shot so far

Nå er kvoten for årets hvalfangst fastsatt. (Photo: Anne-Line Brink/Flickr)
Best start to the Norwegian whaling season in ten years.

Best start to the Norwegian whaling season in ten years. 

21 vessels are licensed to participate in this year's whaling and four of them have already started the hunt, which takes place off the coast of Finnmark county in Northern Norway.

At The Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organization, sales consultant Per Rolandsen says this is a good start:
"Yesterday, 30 kills were registered. To find an equally high catch rate this early we have to look back ten years, to 2005". 

At the same time last year, only 21 Minke whales had been shot. In 2013, the number  was seven, and in 2012 only three had been shot by this time.
Early start

The explanation for this year’s early numbers is related in part to one of the whaling boats getting a jumpstart on the hunt this season.
“How early they get started depends on when they finish the winter fishing season, and how soon they are able to rig the boat for whaling,” says Rolandsen.

There are 21 vessels registered in this year’s whaling, in addition to one more that applied. This is the same number of vessels as in recent years. According to Rolandsen, most boats will be underway  by the end of May.

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries issues the regulations for whaling in Norway. The earliest allowable start is April 1st. This year, the first whales were shot in week 15, April 13th to 19th. 
Demand for whale meat increasing

Demand for whale meat has increased in recent years, and although it has been several years since the entire maximum quota of 1,286 animals was shot, increasing numbers of Minke are available on the Norwegian food market. The meat is especially popular for barbecuing.

During last year’s season, there were 736 animals shot, an increase from 594 in 2013. It is not possible, at this point, to speculate about whether the total quota will be taken this year.

”We are not able to shoot more animals than that which we can sell to buyers,” says Rolandsen.

For norwegian version read here.