IMMP notes that, not only have environmental groups questioned these figures, but members of the IWC have also questioned the figures. The environmental community, and some IWC members, question the Norwegian whale population estimates because all research and calculations were done by Norwegian officials without any review from outside scientists.
IMMP reports, however, that startling new evidence has surfaced that Norway's whale population estimates have, in fact, been grossly exaggerated and that its formulas for calculating populations contain numerous errors. A special meeting of the IWC's Scientific Committee recently examined the data, and even Norway's own scientists have been forced to admit the errors. In April, the Norwegian government reduced its estimate of the minke whale population by more than 20 percent to 69,600. Further review may show that even this estimate is far too high. Also, because of this revision, the Fisheries Ministry has reduced this year's whale kill quota from 301 to 232 whales. In fact, only 30,000 whales may exist which would grant a zero quota.
IMMP points out, however, that they are in fact directly contradicting this claim as there has been, and still exists, a global moratorium on whaling. Since the Norwegian government has allowed whale hunts for the past two years, they have in fact been violating an international environmental agreement. Also, now that Norway has defied the international community on this issue, they have let the proverbial genie out of the bottle. Norwegian whalers now say that unless they recieve full financial compensation of $8,500 (1,565 kroner) per whale for the reduction in the planned quota, they will kill all 301 whales, in defiance of both the IWC ban and the Norwegian government limits.
Nations have a right to determine their own affairs, but not in violation of international treaties that they have signed on to. If Norway is permitted to violate the commercial whaling ban and base their catch on inaccurate whale population data, there will be little to prevent Japan, Iceland, and a host of other countries from doing the same. This precedent could cause the entire IWC moratorium to crumble. It would also set a dangerous precedent globally if countries are allowed to back out of environmental treaties and agreements if they just don't feel like honoring them anymore.
Click here to return to the Norway whale hunt information page.
Go to IMMP table of contents.