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Iceland, Norway resume whale meat exports to Japan

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Iceland and Norway resumed whale meat exports to Japan this year after an 18-year interruption, industry representatives from both Scandinavian countries said. "Iceland and Norway resumed exporting whale meat to Japan," said Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, president of the Icelandic association representing Minke whale hunters.

"We have exported to Japan 80 tons of fine whale's meat about two weeks ago. The meat is now in Japan. We got the authorization from the government in 2006. And the last exports before those were in 1990," said Jonsson.

Despite Japan being the largest market for whale meat, Norwegian whalers prior to now met with no uptake from Japanese buyers who worried mercury and dioxin levels were abnormally high in the Scandinavian product.

"Norway announced in 2001 that it would resume its exports. Up to now, our sales were limited to Iceland and the Faroe Islands but, this year, meat has also been exported to Japan," said Halvard Johansen, an official with Norway's fishing ministry.

"Ask the Japanese," replied Johansen when questioned why Japan had re-opened its doors to Norweigan products.

© AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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“Ask the Japanese,” replied Johansen when questioned why Japan had re-opened its doors to Norweigan products.

so pls tell us why? also, will Japan stop venturing overseas and stop fighting with Green Peace from now onward?

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BBC Article on the same news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7431568.stm

Go wild Guys.

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As a result of this, if Japan stops its Antarctic expiditions I think everyone will be pretty happy, except the conservationists. Autralia probably won't raise an eyebrow at all.

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Australia will still rasise its eyebrow and voice. They want ALL Whaling to be stopped PERIOD.

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Whale meat, does a body good.

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So what are the mercury and dioxin levels in the meat? Will the government publish the data? After all, the presence of a single bone in imported US beef is enough to induce mass hysteria, yet whale meat is imported on the sly with no apparent checks whatsoever.

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Take the whale issues out of japan, to norway/iceland,australia and western world. Buy foreign whale flesh.

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rjd_jr - Whale meat, does a body good.

Are you for real? Isn't the IWC's main point to stop 'commercial' whaling? How do the northern Europeans get away with commercial whaling? And, you are right! Australia will never stop its war against whaling.

What normal person would eat this highly toxic garbage? What kind of a person would give it to their kids? Ummmm......Japanese, right?

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IWC - is there to control whaling to protect the species. If research shows that limited whaling can be sustained they will allow it.

Now Australia and New Zealand are trying to push their own "anti-whaling" agenda under the guise of the IWC.

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Now Australia and New Zealand are trying to push their own "anti-whaling" agenda under the guise of the IWC.

Not so much 'under the guise of', but with very little assistance from.

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Wonderful news! I look forward to sampling some products of our viking allies!

However, 80 tons of meat is so small. It may be difficult to find in shops.

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Somehow I knew ihope2eatwhales would show up here! xD

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ihope2eatwhales - I hope you do get to eat all 80 tons of it. I just hope you are still able to place pointless posts on here from your hospital bed in the toxicology ward. I little bit of lead goes a very long way. ENJOY IT!

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Fair dinkum! - Do you not like whale meat?

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To Fair Dinkum!, I will gratefully eat your share, but I wish not to eat greedily the share of other eager whale consumers. I believe the anti-whaling rhetoric is more toxic than the fin whale meat from Iceland will be.

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Fair dinkum:

Are you for real? Isn't the IWC's main point to stop 'commercial' whaling?

No.

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The way they kill whales is just plain cruel. (metaphor on) be careful not to choke on too much blubber ihope2eatwhales.(metaphor off)

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I guess its better for them to sell this toxic waste to a country where health standards are easily brushed aside in the name of "tradition." Look up the symptoms of mercury poisoning and you'll find loss of intelligence on the list ... enough said huh?

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NuckingFutz, please enjoy your jokes. We who wish to eat whales will enjoy our whale meals.

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I once tried whale meat. I prefer maguro.

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Is the whole mercury story true? Or is it just a vicious rumor made up to put people off eating whales?

Do u hope 2 eat mercury?

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Before we worry about toxins, we must first worry about whether we are able to buy the meat. Greenpeace Japan may try to steal it once again.

I am sure the meat has been well tested to ensure it is safe, and Icelandic and Norwegian producers are much more trustworthy than American and Chinese producers.

Please see this: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L15510642.htm

Here, a Icelandic whaler has conducted tests for "PCBS, mercury and all sorts of analysis".

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Dear Patrick, What you mention sounds strange, somewhat. I do not think it is the true story.

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I'm just curious if the Norwegian and Icelandic whalers face the same harrassment that the Japanese whalers face. Is there an element of racism also involved here?

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No Stranger! The Norwegian and Icelanders are allowed to hunt whales under agreement with the IWC as it is a major food source in those countries. However, I don't understand how they are allowed to sell the meat on the international market.

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There are protests by Greenpeace et al, but the reason for less high-profile protest is probably because they fish in their own coastal waters.

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The crazy Sea Shepherd cult claims to have sunk whaling boats in Iceland and Norway.

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The Norwegian and Icelanders are allowed to hunt whales under agreement with the IWC as it is a major food source in those countries.

That's not correct. Norway registered a formal objection to the commercial whaling moratorium and thus is not legally bound by it. Iceland left the IWC in 1992, then rejoined in 2002 with a reservation to the moratorium. Iceland's claim that its delayed reservation means it is not legally bound by the moratorium is not accepted by many members of the IWC.

Before we worry about toxins, we must first worry about whether we are able to buy the meat.

That's a very topsy-turvy way of looking at things. If something is suspected of containing toxins, surely the primary concern is to make sure it doesn't get into the shops until and unless it it has been checked and shown to be safe?

From your link - Scientist Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir worries that this is a bad time for Iceland to be on the wrong side of an increasingly vocal environmental movement. "It's bad PR and there is no real reason for it," she said. "People are making more money out of whale watching."

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The crazy Sea Shepherd cult claims to have sunk whaling boats in Iceland and Norway.

And I look forward eagerly to hearing reports of more (unmanned) death ships being sunk.

http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_070901_1.html

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Hello cleo!

The meat has already been tested for "PCBS, mercury and all sorts of analysis". Whale consumer concern is now to obtain some, before Greenpeace Japan steals it. Care must be taken to prevent Greenpeace Japan from intruding on private property and contaminating the product maliciously. Final concern is to get some before it is sold out.

People such as Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir are welcome to their opinion, it matters not to whale eaters.

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The 'Greenpeace stole our whalemeat' story seems to have disappeared from the news media. Maybe it's being kept quiet because 'the whalers are stealing our taxes' is a story the pro-whaling government doesn't want in the news at a time when tax waste is big headlines.

Yes, the meat has been tested -

a study by German scientists at the prestigious FoBIG Institute in Freiburg, published last month, found that whale blubber stored in Norway for export to Japan is contaminated with halogenated-organic contaminants such as PCBs, DDT and brominated flame-retardants -- and is therefore "unfit for human consumption."

Enjoy while you can. At least the flame-retardants should protect you from spontaneous human combustion.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fe20020519a3.html

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cleo, when Japan agreed to imports from Norway in 2002, blubber imports were excluded due to high contaminant levels. I suppose if there is still a problem with blubber, there will be no blubber imported now either. Even just healthy red meat is very welcome.

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just healthy red meat

How can it be 'healthy' when it's dead? Tortured, even?

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Please refer to health benefits of whale meat http://www.mogumogu.jp/shopping/meat/ds0000025.htm Besides tasting lovely, and being healthy, this is also important food for some people with allergies.

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Hunting and eating whales is just the same as hunting and eating any other wild animal as far as I can see. As long as the whale populations and managed properly and maintained at a healthy level, I really don't see what all the fuss is about. What is so special about whales?

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At least Iceland and Norway have the good sense to do their whaling in the seas in their neck of the woods.

We don't see Iceland or Norway organizing Victorian-era style expeditions to the Antarctic to grab whales... indeed many people wonder why Japan organizes these marathon voyages to a pristine environment at the furthest reaches of the globe to grab whales, when according to their own government they have an abundance of whales in the seas around Japan.

But I wonder why Japan is importing this meat. Whale meat is just a very tiny niche market in Japan... 99.99% of housewives have no intention of putting whale meat on the table for the family meal. It's in the same niche category as ostrich meat or alligator meat or something weird like that.

I suppose it's some kind of political move to create an image of a (fake) international trade in whale products. Or it might be the start of the process of Japan announcing its intention to end it's ridiculous Antarctic whaling operation, as it will inevitably have to do sooner or later.

The main reason for Japan's whale grabbing (according to the Japanese themselves) is to protect it's "food culture" (they even have a society called "The Association to Protect Japan's Whaling tradition and Food Culture", believe it or not!) so they might have finally realised how arrogant it appears to try to stretch that food culture all the way to the Antarctic.

But instead of increasing the catch from JARPNII (one of the fake research programs) they are importing whales from Europe.

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Hunting and eating whales is just the same as hunting and eating any other wild animal as far as I can see. As long as the whale populations and managed properly and maintained at a healthy level, I really don't see what all the fuss is about. What is so special about whales?

Imagine if a particular country repeated again and again how important a certain wild animal was for preserving their "food culture" but then demanded to take that animal from a pristine environment on the other side of the globe... 1000s and 1000s of kms away from their own country.

Wouldn't you think that was pretty arrogant to claim a "food culture" that stretched so far.

Now imagine that this country has an abundance of that animal in it's own neck of the woods (according to its own government data). Wouldn't you start to wonder why on earth that country has to impose its culture and values on the pristine environment on the other side of the globe when it has enough of the animal it demands on its own doorstep.

If you can imagine this then you can start to understand why people around the world object to Japan's Antarctic whaling.

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Bought some today, half price. Missus, (a.k.a. "the chef"), prepared it just perfectly. A wee drop of a very dry Greek wine, and it was just delicious. It wasn't Japanese, so I knew it was safe! Not re-labelled, re-served or M.I.C., you know what I mean! Not endangered either, so who cares!

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All whales are endangered when it comes to whalers and whale meat eaters.... it's disgusting. The whales have huge brains, are social and communicative intelligent mammals-- You are eating your brothers and sisters.

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"Imagine if a particular country repeated again and again how important a certain wild animal was for preserving their "food culture" but then demanded to take that animal from a pristine environment on the other side of the globe... 1000s and 1000s of kms away from their own country.

Wouldn't you think that was pretty arrogant to claim a "food culture" that stretched so far.

Now imagine that this country has an abundance of that animal in it's own neck of the woods (according to its own government data). Wouldn't you start to wonder why on earth that country has to impose its culture and values on the pristine environment on the other side of the globe when it has enough of the animal it demands on its own doorstep.

If you can imagine this then you can start to understand why people around the world object to Japan's Antarctic whaling."

I can't imagine what you are talking about. Impose it's culture and values on a pristine environment? How does one impose culture on an environment? I'm not sure exactly what the proximity to Japan has to do with anything. Presumably, these are international waters that various countries fish in. What is the difference?

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I'm not sure exactly what the proximity to Japan has to do with anything.

You missed the question, so just to ask again:

Wouldn't you think that was pretty arrogant to claim a "food culture" that stretched so far?

I mean, if my country was demanding to help itself to resources from a delicate and precious environment on the other side of the globe, all in order to preserve our "food culture", then I think I could understand other countries having a negative reaction to that, especially if it was in their neck of the woods.

Impose it's culture and values on a pristine environment?

For the Japanese, this issue is all about culture and values. Read up about what they are saying. It really is amazing that they have a "food culture" that stretches all the way to the Antarctic. They even have an "Association to Preserve Japan's Whaling Tradition and Food Culture" which has the full support of the Japanese government. At their annual meeting what do you think they serve up for the guests? That's right.... whale meat from the Antarctic.

Presumably, these are international waters that various countries fish in.

It's not quite that simple. The Ozzies for example have a claimed EEZ off the AAT. It's a controversial claim no doubt, but then the Japanese themselves have a controversial claim to a massive EEZ around Okinotorishima. Imagine if Ozzie fishermen steamed up to the waters around Okinotorishima to grab sea creatures in order to preserve their "barbecue culture". What do you think the reaction would be from the Japanese?

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ihope2 -

Whoever wrote the copy at the link you posted obviously doesn't know what they're talking about; they call whale 'this fish'. If they can get something as basic as that wrong, their claims that the meat is 'healthy' need to be taken with a huge handful of salt.

Neither is whale meat 'important food for people with allergies'. Dead animal flesh is a substitute for neither rice nor wheat, and the idea that humans need to devour vast quantities of animal protein at every meal is not simply false, it is dangerous. Excess protein is stored as fat, and is linked to chronic calcium loss leading to osteoporosis.

The picture looks positively up-chuckable.

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To imacat, You often say the same things, over and over and over again. This story has nothing do with Antarctic whaling. But you repeated your statements again anyway. Very strange. Also strange that moderator-san did not delete them.

But I have a comment for you, this time.

But I wonder why Japan is importing this meat.

There is enough people here who hope to eat this 80 tons of meat, there is no mistake.

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But I wonder why Japan is importing this meat.

Easy, because Japanese live fin-whale meat but don't hunt fin-whales. Norwegians too as they reckon fin-whales are plenty.

Said that the BBC article I linked stated that there is NO market for Whale meat in Norway and it also states that the Japanese did NOT officially request the meat which they must do so via the japanese goverment.

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To imacat, you copy everything you wrote at the previous story, and paste it here, once again. Again you talk about an "association". This association does not exist. Please see:

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japan-australia-agree-to-work-out-diplomatic-solution-to-whaling-dispute

You need not repeat yourself forever.

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To cleo, you may eat as much salt as you hope to. We hope to eat whales, and we are not worried by things such as whales being called fish. You are very cunning. The link also says whale is a meat, many times. I only saw what you were talking about by reading very carefully.

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To Zen_Builder, I have heard that our friends do not have a taste for fin whale, or whale blubber. They hope to eat only small minke whales. This is a fortunate thing for we in the Japanese market.

I do not understand the western reports well. For trade issues, I believe "keizaisangyooshoo" is relevant government body. It seems western reporters have asked fisheries agency about this trade. I do not know for sure, but I guess fisheries agency has little to do with international trade issues such as this.

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This news is not about objections against whaling. It is a business article about resumption of trade.

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It seems to me the anti-whaling arguments contain more emotion than logic. It's just hunting. If it's sustainable and managed properly, it's a good source of food, therefore, a good activity.

<strong>Moderator: Readers, stay on topic please. This thread is about the business decision by Norway and Iceland to sell whale meat to Japan. Please do not rehash old arguments.</strong>

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imacat says,

"I think readers of this board who perhaps don't live in Japan should get the correct picture of who is eating whale meat in Japan."

These are not facts, not even anecdotal evidence. It's just you telling how you think it is.

I had a class this morning and all 4 middle aged ladies contradicted your "facts". They said Japanese people in general would like to eat whale meat if it wasn't so expensive.

Of course, if there was no demand, it wouldn't be so expensive.

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"I had a class this morning and all 4 middle aged ladies contradicted your "facts". They said Japanese people in general would like to eat whale meat if it wasn't so expensive."

You shouldn't even take statements like that at face value Stranger. In my past I've taught classes like that as well, but when talking to some of those same students later outside of class, they tell a much different story. And it's very interesting to hear why they said such a statement during class in the first place.

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I hope very much to eat whale, but avoid to say so in the face of non-Japanese. Some foreigners become crazy about this, it is easier to just agree with them and make them happy in such face-to-face situations. But I have also met level-headed non-Japanese too. Especially recently, many non-Japanese enjoy whale cuisine.

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I find the statement "there is no market for whale meat in Norway" highly dubious. http://www.highnorth.no/library/Culture/Recipes/no-wh-me.htm http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/25069/story.htm http://www.jacobsen.no/anders/blog/archives/2002/08/13/eating_whale_steak.html http://uktv.co.uk/food/thread/threadid/16646

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Someday there might not be whales to hunt or to eat ' Iceland and especially Norway think they have the right to hunt these beautiful animals because of tradition dating back in the "old days" ' Go eat something else besides whales ' I guess Japan feels left out because Norway and Iceland has no trouble killing whales huh '

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Graywolf0813, so long as people hope to eat whales, there will be whales to hunt and eat.

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@Graywolf0813: I love herring, herring are for me the most cudely animals (fish) in the world, their cute eyes and tale makes me want to have one as a pet. So sad, that miilions are eaten every day makes me cry when I see that, or see them in the supermarket. I have nothing with wales by the way, fat blobby fish, which arent't even real fish after all, go ahead eat my day I would say...but herring, so sad...

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