Wednesday, July 18,
2001 - 12:00 a.m.
Norwegian whale cargo
rebuffed by airlines
By Seattle Times news services
OSLO, Norway — Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), the joint
flag carrier for Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and Finnair joined 21
other airlines yesterday in refusing to transport exports of whale
Norway in April made a unilateral decision to resume exports of
whale products to Japan, and pressed to have a ban on minke whale
hunting overturned, claiming there are enough
minke whales for commercial hunting.
Norwegians eat the red meat of whales but not the fatty blubber,
so at least 400 tons are frozen in warehouses. The blubber would
be worth millions of dollars in places like Japan, where it is
considered a delicacy.
Finnair flies to Oslo, Bergen and Lakselv in Norway. Finnair also
flies to Tokyo twice a week.
Norway resumed commercial whale hunting in 1993 despite a global
moratorium by the International Whaling Commission and protests
from environmental groups including
Greenpeace. The ban was imposed in 1986, but the nonbinding ruling
has been rejected by Norway.
Norway says minke whales, the smallest of the baleen whales, are
plentiful along its coast and can sustain a limited hunt. The
annual hunt, for 549 minke whales this year, began in May.
"Finnair supports efforts for the conservation of endangered
whale species as stated in international conventions,"
Finnair said in a statement.
Similar pledges were made earlier this month by 21 major airlines,
including Lufthansa, British Airways and KLM, which said they
would not carry Norwegian whale-meat exports,
according to environmental group Greenpeace.
"If we are offered a load, we will say no thanks," SAS
spokeswoman Trine Loevberg said. "It shouldn't be much of an
issue, since SAS doesn't have its own freight aircraft."
Copyright © 2001 The Seattle Times
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The following airlines
have already pledged not to carry any whale products:
Air 2000 (Britain),
Lineas Aereas SA (Balearic Islands),
Crossair HQ (Switzerland),
Deutsche Lufthansa (Germany),
Kenya Airways (KQ),
KenCargo Airlines (Kenya),
Martinair Cargo (Holland)
Onur Air (Turkey),
Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS),
Sterling European (Denmark),
Swissair (see CrossAir),
Tyrolean Airways (Austrian).