European Parliament urges action on the transit of whale meat via EU ports

Humane Society International

  • A minke whale. Daniel Benhaim/iStockphoto

The European Parliament adopted a strongly worded Resolution on whale hunting in Norway, a move welcomed by animal protection organisation Humane Society International. MEPs raised concerns about the transiting of whale products to Japan via a number of EU ports during a debate with the European Commission in July. In this Resolution, they unequivocally called upon Norway to cease all of its commercial whaling operations and to abide by the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling that entered into force on 1986, and to halt the trade in whale meat and other whale products. The Parliament also urges the Commission to ensure that EU ports block the transit of whale meat.

Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, issued the following statement:

“We applaud MEPs for addressing the issue of the transhipment of whale products and sending a strong message to Norway about its continued disregard of international multilateral agreements to protect whales from commercial exploitation. It is reprehensible that Norway continues to subsidise the whaling industry and even to try to find new markets for its products, such as food supplements and feed for animals on fur farms. The EU has long prohibited the cruel and unsustainable trade in whale products. It is an affront to EU citizens that whale meat is being transited through some of the Union’s ports. Humane Society International/Europe strongly supports the European Parliament’s call for action to halt the transhipment of whale meat.”

Help us halt whaling.


  • In 1993, Norway resumed commercial whaling under an objection to the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium. Between 1993 and 2016, Norway has hunted almost 12,400 minke whales – and this number does not include the 2017 season.
  • Norway has used its formal reservation to the international ban on commercial trade in whale products implemented by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (in support of the IWC whaling moratorium), to ship hundreds of tonnes of whale meat to Japan, It also exports minke whale products to Iceland and the Faroe Islands;
  • Norway has quietly become the world’s leading whaling nation, killing more whales in the past two years than Japan and Iceland combined.
  • In February, Norway increased its 2017 whaling quota to 999 animals; the Fishery Minister of Norway also announced an intention to double the quota, which would mean that Norway would allow the hunting of up to 2,000 minke whales annually;
  • As domestic demand for whale products in Norway has declined, whalers have sought new markets; for example, fur farms use whale meat as feed, and the government has granted funding for the development of food supplements and pharmaceutical products derived from whale oil.

Media contact: Raul Arce-Contreras,, +1 (301) 721-6440

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