BERLIN: German customs officials have confiscated whale meat being sold as bite-sized snacks by a Norwegian stall at a trade fair celebrating trends in food, agriculture and gardening.
The stall’s supervisor said that he was surprised to hear the sale of whale meat was “meant to be illegal here”. He claimed his team had been able to take the food through customs without problem. “We wanted to showcase Norway’s variety,” he added.
Whale meat is illegal in Germany and majority of the EU countries. The case has now been passed on to Berlin state prosecutors. Those in charge of the Norwegian stall could face a fine or even a prison sentence of up to five years.
Witnesses say they were clearly labelled as whale meat. Customs officials confiscated 3 kg of meat – a further 4 kg had already been sold to visitors.
Commercial whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium in 1986, but both Iceland and Norway lodged objections to the ban in the 90’s. These days, Norway sets its own quota for how many animals its whalers are allowed to kill commercially each year. For 2013, the quota is set at 1,286 animals.