According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), Greenland intends to ask permission to hunt a quota of 50 humpbacks over five years. The request will be put forward at an international key meeting on Tuesday where the 40 year long moratorium on whaling will be discussed.

“The WDCS urges member states and the Czech presidency [of the European Union] not to put at risk the EU’s reputation for commitment to the conservation of the world’s whales,” WDCS spokesman Nicolas Entrup said in Lisbon, Portugal.

On Tuesday, the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will commence on Madeira, a Portuguese island.

humpback whale Will Greenland commence whaling?

Humpback whale
The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a baleen whale found in all the major oceans (not including the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea) in a wide band running from the Antarctic ice edge to 65° N latitude. It is known for its knobbly head and its habit of frequently breaching and slapping the water; a practise which has made it especially popular among whale watchers. The purpose of the famous humpback whale song produced by the males remains unclear, but it is believed to play a role in reproduction. This whale song lasts for 10-20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time.

The introduction of the explosive harpoon in the late 1800s and increasingly better ships made it possible for whalers to drastically accelerate their take, which soon led to a sharp decline in most whale populations, including the humpback whale. An estimated number of 200,000 humpbacks where taken during the 20th century, reducing the global population by over 90% and bringing the North Atlantic population down to a mere 700 individuals. When the ban on commercial humpback whaling was introduced by the IWC in 1966, the global population consisted of an estimated 5000 whales.

Today, the Humpback has made a promising comeback. In 2008, it was moved from the “Vulnerable” section on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and has since then been listed as “Least Concern”, although two subpopulations remain endangered.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), over 50,000 humpbacks can be found in the Southern Hemisphere, while the North Pacific Ocean is home to 18,000-20,000 individuals and the North Atlantic population comprises about 12,000 specimens.

The main threats to the humpback whales are today entanglement in fishing equipment, ship collisions, and noise pollution.