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Norway slams whaling critics


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OSLO (Reuters) - Norway hit back on Sunday at 12 nations led by Britain for urging an end to whale hunts, saying a plan to raise catches to the highest in two decades in 2006 would not damage stocks of the giant mammals.

"The charges are baseless ... They have failed to do their homework," Norway's whaling commissioner Karsten Klepsvik told Reuters of the call for an end to whaling on Thursday by nations including France, Germany, Australia and Brazil.

British Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw said on behalf of the 12 that an increase in Norway's quota to 1,052 whales in 2006 "is premature and not based on the best scientific advice." Britain's embassy in Oslo handed in the formal protest.

Norway, which broke with a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1993, has harpooned about 750 minke whales each year in recent years and the 2006 will be the highest since the 1980s. The whales are eaten as steaks in Norway.

Klepsvik said the quota was based on theoretical guidelines for whaling agreed in 1992 by a panel of scientists at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) -- including experts from nations which signed the protest.

"The quota is based on cautious estimates," said Klepsvik, a foreign ministry official who oversees Norway's whaling.

Norway says there are 107,000 minke whales in the north Atlantic. The 2006 catch, which includes a basic quota of 745 along with 307 that were not caught in 2004-05 quotas, represents about one percent of the stock.

He also slammed Bradshaw for saying in a statement that Oslo's government was "putting pressure on their scientists to justify the wide-scale destruction of this species."

"Casting doubt on the integrity of our scientists goes over the limit of political criticism," he said.

Lars Walloe, a professor at Oslo university who is chief scientific advisor to the government on marine mammals, also told Reuters: "It's frightening that they make such statements."

Both Walloe and Klepsvik said, however, that Norway was working on a new way of setting quotas. Parliament has said it wants catches back to higher historical levels, of about 1,800.

Oslo says that minke whales are plentiful, eat commercial fish stocks and do not need to be kept on endangered lists -- unlike species like the sperm whale or blue whale, the biggest creature ever to have lived on the planet.

Animal welfare groups say hunting whales with exploding harpoons is cruel and that all nations should stick to a 1986 IWC moratorium on hunts. Along with Norway, both Japan and Iceland catch whales.

Argentina, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain were the other countries to back the statement, issued soon after the start of the Norwegian whaling season on April 1.



Norway is just stupid in whale hunting. <_<

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  • Talon


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Norway is just stupid in whale hunting.


Why cant we stop hunting a species type in the brink of extinction.

We have. India is a leading model that stoped the poaching of Asiatic Lions ( a mere 13 to now about 350) and Begal Tigers from the brink of extinction.

Other animals have made combacks like this. Norway is just stupid...

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Norway and Japan are a real embarassment to the western world in regards protecting endangered species.

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^Indeed, at least they aren`t claiming they are hunting these whales to do scientific research..............still waiting for your findings Japan.......

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