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Dec 13

Nail in the Coffin for Norwegian Seal Hunt

Norway’s much-criticised commercial seal hunt could grind to a halt following parliament’s decision to scrap a hefty subsidy for the controversial practice.

A majority of lawmakers voted late Thursday to cull a 12 million kroner ($A2,439,031) subsidy for the seal hunt from the 2015 budget.

Governmental support represents up to 80 percent of seal hunters’ revenue.

norway seal hunt

The vote was promoted by budget constraints and with 12,000 seals hunted every year, the government subsidy amounted to roughly 1,000 kroner per animal.

Head of the committee on trade and fisheries Geir Pollestad, whose party opposed abolishing public aid, said he feared the hunt would disappear as a result of the vote.

“Parliament has not decided to ban the seal hunt, but we fear that the hunt will actually disappear along with the subsidies,” he said.

He said he suspected the centre-right government had decided to discontinue the subsidies to “be popular” with the EU.

“It’s suspicious when, from one year to another, we remove all subsidies to the industry,” he said.

Line Henriette Hjemdal of the Christian Democrats, an ally of the ruling coalition, denied that pressure from Brussels played a role in removing the subsidies.

“It’s simply a matter of economics,” she said.

The vote applied to commercial seal hunting but recreational seal hunting along the coastline will not be affected.

Hunting provokes international condemnation

Supporters have said the hunt is steeped in tradition and claim it is a necessary means of controlling seal populations.

But the activity has provoked international controversy and diplomatic and trade problems for Norway.

In 2010 the EU introduced an embargo on products from the commercial seal hunt in Norway and Canada, justifying the measures on public outrage over what was considered brutality on the animals.

The seals are usually hunted with rifles and with so-called “hakapiks” – sticks fitted with a metal head to deal a fast, lethal blow to the animal.

Images of baby seals with snow white fur and huge black eyes being slaughtered on the ice have played a large part in mobilising public sentiment against the hunt.

Together with Canada, the world’s top seal-hunting nation, Norway has long fought against the EU embargo, which exempts only hunting by indigenous peoples.

However in May, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) turned down the two nations’ appeal for the second time. Norway is not a member of the European Union.

Norwegian NGO Noah leader Siri Martinsen said it was a “myth” that seal populations must be limited in order to preserve fish stocks.

“There is no direct link … the ocean’s ecosystem is so complicated that we can’t say two minus one equals one,” she said.

The leader of Greenpeace in Norway Truls Gulowsen said the group was “happy” the government “has finally decided to stop subsiding an industry that clearly belongs in the past”.

Article on Norwegian seal hunt taken from source

  • A nail in the coffin for #Norwegian #sealhunt