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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 02:46 GMT
Norway raises whaling kill quota
Whaling boat (BBC)
Norwegian whaling ships are relatively small and few in number
Norwegian whalers will be allowed to kill a total of 1,052 minke whales in 2006, an increase of 30%.

The quota was raised from 797 - already a record - after a unanimous vote in parliament, the government said.

Norway resumed commercial whaling in 1993 despite a worldwide ban, sparking condemnation from many nations.

Oslo insists that the north Atlantic waters used for whaling sustain a large population of minke whales, which it says are not endangered.

The increase comes after the second consecutive season when whalers have not managed to land their entire quota of minke.

'Meaningless provocation'

"The quota for 2006 is composed of a basic annual quota of 745 and the addition of unused quotas in 2004 and 2005," the ministry of fisheries and coastal affairs said in a statement.

It is right to hunt whales as part of management based on the ecosystem
Jan Kristiansen
Norwegian Whalers' Association

It described the model used for calculating the whaling quota as "conservative".

"According to scientists, the quota is within the interval that gives adequate safety regarding the conservation of the minke whale stocks that we target," the statement added.

Minke whales can grow up to nine metres (30ft) long.

The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but Norway has rejected the ban.

The country's whaling association said the quota was acceptable as part of a "managed ecosystem".

Greenpeace described the quota increase as a "meaningless provocation of the international community".

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