Where have all the whalers gone?
Despite the best efforts of their Government and some artificial subsidies, it seems that Norway is running out of whalers.
In Iceland whaling is being kept alive by the greed of one family, but in Norway, “Norwegian kids, even those who grow up in the seafaring stronghold of Lofoten, simply don’t want to become whalers anymore.”
So recounts National Georgraphics article, ‘Viking Whalers’.
For Norway’s youth the distant pull of Norwegian history and the role whaling played in its independence is no longer an incentive to take up what is a dangerous and, to most people, a poorly regarded industry.
As the national Georgraphic article states, whaling is only part of Norway’s recent history. ‘“Whaling from boats was unknown in my grandfather’s day,” recalls Oddvar Berntsen, now 83 and the last surviving resident of his fishing village. “The boats were just too small. Occasionally the villagers might kill a whale from shore if it came in close, but this was looked upon as opportunistic, done for food.”’.
The article quotes Norwegian whalers admitting that whaling is no longer really viable,
‘“To be honest, whale meat isn’t really commercial for us anymore,” says 42-year-old Ulf Christian Ellingsen…We continue to buy it mainly out of respect for tradition and our old roots.”‘
News reports in April 2013 indicate that only 17 vessels would be hunting this season, having killed a reduced number of 459 whales in 2012 from their self-allocated quota of 1286 whales.
WDC hopes that the end comes sooner rather than later.