Norway is one of a handful of nations that are still hunting whales, but for the past eight years they have killed only half their self-allocated quota of Minke whales. And it looks like the secret may be pizzas. Whale hunting in Norway appears to be slowly fading away.

'Year on year the quotas aren't being taken,' says Truis Gulowsen, president of Greenpeace Norway. 'It isn't a huge problem though. It is an activity that is on the path to extinction because consumers prefer pizzas to whale meat.'

Demand for whale meat isn't only falling in Norway. In Japan too the public are no longer interested in eating whale meat. Across the country vast freezers consume energy to preserve growing stockpiles of uneaten whalemeat.

The killing of whales is often seen by politicians as an important cultural activity and they resent the pressure applied by the international community to dismantle a historic tradition. No-one likes to be told what to do by outsiders.

This is why pressure from within a country is often so much more productive.

On 1st April a historic ruling by the UN's International Court of Justice found against Japan's hunting of tens of thousands of whales for 'scientific research, and banned this years's whale hunt in the Southern Pacific. While the band applies only to one particular programme it is significant.

Claims by the Japanese Government that the hunting is only for 'research purposes' have long since been debunked. In 2012 the director general of the Japanese Fisheries Agency issued a statement to parliament saying that Minke whale meat was 'prized because it is said to have a very good flavour and aroma when eaten as sashimi and the like'.

Which doesn't sound much like scientific research, does it?

Let us hope that in Japan as in Norway, the hunting of whales and dolphins fades into history before it is too late.



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