Sweden backs whale hunt plan

Sweden backs whale hunt plan
Sweden drew the ire of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on Friday as the country lent its backing to a proposal for the introduction of quotas for commercial whale hunting.

Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren has joined forces with Denmark in seeking a compromise that would allow the world’s foremost whaling nations Japan, Norway and Iceland to conduct legal hunts for the first time in 24 years, Reuters reports.

Most EU states remain firmly opposed to any compromise solution that would permit the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to set quotas. The IWC will rule on the matter at a summit meeting in Morocco later this month.

With whale hunting countries continuing to hunt despite the ban, Carlgren believes a regulated quota system would lead to fewer whale deaths.

“We think there is a window of opportunity to get Japan, Norway and Iceland into an international agreement. Today we have strong rules on paper, but in reality no control,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg.

But WWF secretary general Lasse Gustafsson was quick to criticize the minister’s line of reasoning.

“We can’t really understand the logic. We don’t see this as an area in which there should be political compromises,” he told news agency TT.

Gustavsson drew parallels with the government’s culling strategy for Sweden’s wolf population. He argued there was nothing to suggest that limited hunting quotas would benefit the whale population.

“We don’t see that there’s any reason to change the current principle.”

Australia and New Zealand are strongly opposed to lifting a moratorium set in 1986. Within the EU, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK all reject any proposal that would legitimize whaling.

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