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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 July 2006, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Bloody end to Norway whale safari
Whaling boat (BBC)
Norway resumed commercial whaling in 1993
A group of tourists was inadvertently introduced to Norwegian hunting practices during a whale-watching trip in the far north of the country.

As they were admiring one of the animals, a Norwegian whaling boat came along and harpooned it.

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

Oslo says it has a large population of minke whales in its North Atlantic waters, not endangered by its hunting.

The tourists were travelling aboard a trawler which was headed for the Arctic Lofoten Islands.

"We were on our way out to the whale-watching area when we passed a whaling boat," the boat's skipper, Geir Maan, told the Associated Press news agency.

Whaling and tour boats usually maintained a distance between them, he said.

This really wasn't what we came to see
Leontien Dieleman
Dutch tourist

"This time, we got close, and right when they were passing, I realised they had a minke whale in firing range," he said.

The incident, which happened at the weekend, left the 80-odd tourists who witnessed it in shock.

"The blood flowed and it wasn't a pretty sight. This really wasn't what we came to see," Leontien Dieleman from the Netherlands told a Norwegian newspaper.

Later, the tour party passed a boat hauling a dead whale onto its deck.

Whaling ban

This year, Norwegian whalers have been allowed to kill a total of 1,052 minke whales - 30% more than last year's quota - by parliamentary vote.

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".


SEE ALSO
Japan defeated in new whaling bid
18 Jun 06 |  Science/Nature

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