Greenland quotas for big whales

At this year’s annual meeting in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) the Commission failed to establish whaling quotas for whaling at Greenland for the period 2013-2018.

Greenland, together with Alaska, Chukotka and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, enjoy a derogation from the general ban on whaling, based on the fact that the 4 areas do not have the possibilities, as other areas and countries, to secure a decent living standard without the contribution that whaling can give to the food supply.

The failure of the IWC to function properly is not acceptable when a number of member states of the IWC, by not adopting quotas, seek to reduce the food supply of Greenland.

The Commission has previously agreed to a Greenland need for whaling at West Greenland in the order of 670 tons of whale meat.

The Greenland Government uphold and respect scientific advice in its management of the natural resources on land and in its waters, not least the scientific advice of the Scientific Committing of the IWC. Each resource, including whales, contributes to the Country’s food supply. The policy of the Greenland Government is exactly the same as the policy of all other civilized nations. Every nation supports the idea of sustainable use of natural resources. In Greenland these natural resources include whales.

At this year’s meeting of the IWC Greenland called for negotiations, but it was clearly indicated to Greenland that there was no scope for negotiations – and therefore no result was achieved.

Greenland is, on this background, forced to establish quotas by national means partly to secure the food supply partly to avoid a situation of unregulated hunt in the absence of quotas. The quotas correspond to the scientific advice offered by the IWC’s scientific Committee. However, the Greenland Government has decided to establish quotas for 2 years only – 2013 and 2014. Quotas for the remaining 4 years of the quota period will be discussed during the next ordinary IWC meeting in 2014. Greenland will at that meeting be prepared to enter into negotiations in order to secure an acceptable result. In the meantime intends to respect all other IWC rules relevant to whaling in Greenland.

The yearly quotas established for the period 2013-2014 are:


Minke whale 178

Fin whale 19, but with voluntarily reduction with 5, so the quota is 14 per year

Bowhead whale 2

Humpback whale 10


Minke whale 12

For further information:

Head of office Amalie Jessen +299-345304,