US deliberately censured Norwegian whaling quota / News / The Foreigner

US deliberately censured Norwegian whaling quota. A ‘Wikileaked’ document coinciding with President Obama’s Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize visit shows the US ambassador to Norway was allegedly told to criticise the country’s whaling quota. On the same day President Barack Obama arrived in Norway, Ambassador Barry White raised the topic during a meeting between Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. “As requested refs A and B, the Ambassador raised Norway’s increased Whaling catch limit with FM store at the end of the latter’s December 10 meeting with visiting Secretary Chu during the POTUS visit to accept the Nobel Peace Prize,” the ambassador wrote in U.S. cable re-published by Aftenposten.

ambassadorbensonwhitney, barrywhite, usembassyoslo, wikileaks, jonasgahrstoere, stephenchu, presidentbarackobama



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US deliberately censured Norwegian whaling quota

Published on Sunday, 16th January, 2011 at 14:28 under the news category, by Ashley Trengove and Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 26th January 2011 at 22:02.

A ‘Wikileaked’ document coinciding with President Obama’s Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize visit shows the US ambassador to Norway was allegedly told to criticise the country’s whaling quota.

Whale shot
Whale shot
Photo: Mariano P/Flickr


Objections

On the same day President Barack Obama arrived in Norway, Ambassador Barry White raised the topic during a meeting between Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu.

“As requested refs A and B, the Ambassador raised Norway’s increased Whaling catch limit with FM store at the end of the latter’s December 10 meeting with visiting Secretary Chu during the POTUS visit to accept the Nobel Peace Prize,” the ambassador wrote in U.S. cable re-published by Aftenposten.

Norway registered its objection to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) ban on commercial whaling in 1986, and is therefore not bound by it.

The country raised its annual Minke whaling quota from 885 to 1,286 in 2009. President Obama’s administration met the timing of this with cynicism, as it had worked hard at establishing an international whaling compromise. One of his election promises had been to stop all commercial activity.

During the meeting, FM Støre responded passionately in his defence of Norway’s whaling quota stressing that, “the prospective on limits on the Minke Whale will be well within scientific limits.” He also argued that the Minke Whale affects other, more significant marine breeds such as cod, as is not an endangered species.

According to the cable, there were indications the Norwegians would be willing to consider scientific principles in discussions about its whaling policy

Complaints

Norwegian whaling is a tradition that stretches back thousands of years, but according an earlier US cable from former US ambassador to Norway, Benson K Whitney, it is a dying trade, even though Norway is still a country that actively favours the continuation of commercial whaling.

However, animal protection agencies in Norway are not worried that whaling will continue on a large scale for many years to come. Amongst other reasons for its decline are a saturated market, a weak demand for meat, low profits, and unreliable work.

Grocers in the commercial market have also complained about the dated packaging and marketing of whale meat, reinforcing many Norwegians’ preconceptions of ‘whale meat being a poor man’s food with bad taste and a throwback to another time.’

Norway’s international export attempts to Japan in 2001 fell short of expectations, with Japanese authorities refusing to accept Norwegian whale meat in the first few years on the grounds that the meat was polluted with heavy metals and other toxins.

Failure

Japan only accepted a meagre shipment of 5.5 tons of whale meat in 2008, where it sat in a warehouse for months before it was finally approved for commercial sale. Japan still abstains from importing Norwegian blubber for pollution reasons.

Last year’s US-led international compromise, allowing Norway, Japan, and Iceland to conduct limited commercial whaling in return for IWC-controlled and regulated whale hunting for research purposes, was eventually voted down after it became too restrictive.

“The issue was high on the agenda especially in the first year of the Obama administration. It put a lot of prestige into this, and was probably disappointed that nothing more came out of its attempts,” says the IWC’s Norwegian Commissioner, Karsten Kleppsvik.



Published on Sunday, 16th January, 2011 at 14:28 under the news category, by Ashley Trengove and Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 26th January 2011 at 22:02.

This post has the following tags: ambassadorbensonwhitney, barrywhite, usembassyoslo, wikileaks, jonasgahrstoere, stephenchu, presidentbarackobama.





  
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