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Last Updated: Monday June 19 2006 14:22 GMT

I've grown up with whale hunting

Emilie filming in Norway
Emilie is pro-whale hunting
For the first time in many years, the international ban on whale hunting may be lifted.

It is a controversial issue, but Press Packer Emilie explains how whaling is part of her everyday life in Norway.

"I live in a remote fishing village called Reine on the Lofoten Islands, right up at the top of Norway.

It's so far north we're inside the Arctic Circle, which means that in the winter it's very dark but in the summer it's light twenty-four hours a day!

Way of life

Most people in this area have something to do with fishing. Almost every family has someone who works as a fisherman, so I've grown up with fishing and whaling being normal.

My grandfather is now 70, and he's been whaling since he was 14. Now my father and both my uncles do it.

Every summer in May and June they catch whales. They head out to sea for weeks at a time.

When they go I miss them, but they've been doing this as long as I can remember.

Emilie's fishing village in Norway
Emilie's fishing village in Norway
My family have two boats in which we catch whales. One of the boats can hold up to 25 whales in the ship haul, but no-one is allowed to catch more than 21 whales each season.

They do it by firing a big spear with a chain on it called a harpoon. A grenade is placed at the end of the harpoon which apparently doesn't hurt the whale.

Is it ok?

I think hunting whales is ok. To me it's just like any other kind of fishing.

I find it wrong when people who eat fish say that hunting whales is cruel.

I also like the taste of whale meat. My mum makes dinner with it three times a week, and my favourite dish is barbequed whale steak.

Almost all of my school mates eat whale meat. Even those who don't like eating other meats still like eating whale meat.

Strong tradition

Hunting whales is really important to our community. Lots of families depend on it for their livelihoods.

For me and lots of other people in Norway, catching whales isn't just part of our history, it's part of who we are today."

Emilie, 11, Norway


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