AGADIR, Morocco – Greenland may hunt humpback whales for the first time since 1986, the International Whaling Commission decided Friday as the 88 IWC countries were wrapping up their five-day annual meeting in the Moroccan resort of Agadir. There was a consensus on the subject, which was not submitted to a vote, delegates said.
Greenland’s indigenous hunting quotas currently allow it to kill 178 minke whales, 19 fin whales and two bowhead whales annually.
The catch allowance will now also include nine humpback whales. The number of fin whales will be cut down so that the total number of hunted whales remains the same.
The 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling does not concern subsistence whaling by some indigenous communities.
The whaling by Greenland is, however, controversial, because some environmentalist groups say the meat is sold at supermarkets and used in restaurants.
“Whale meat is sold even in Copenhagen with the justification that Greenlanders live there,” said biologist Petra Deimer, a member of the IWC scientific committee.
That was a “sad outcome,” said Nicolas Entrup from the whale and dolphin protection group WDCS.
Greenland is an autonomous part of Denmark. Unlike Denmark, it does not belong to the European Union. Several EU countries opposed Denmark’s request to allow Greenland to hunt humpback whales, but finally gave in.