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Convenience Kills: SPAR Norway helps prop up Norwegian whaling

SPAR Norway and its parent company NorgesGruppen ASA are important facilitators of the distribution and sale of whale meat in Norway. Food products from the hunts of protected minke whales killed in Norwegian waters are being sold in a number of SPAR Norway outlets and other NorgesGruppen stores.

Under an objection to the global moratorium on commercial whaling and a reservation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ban on international trade in minke whales, Norway is able to legally hunt and trade minke whales. However, Norway’s self-allocated whaling quotas are not approved by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and depend upon a calculation method that has been rejected by its Scientific Committee. The IWC has also passed a resolution calling on Norway to halt all whaling activities and refrain from trading.

Ignoring the concerns of both the IWC and CITES, Norway resumed international trade in whale meat in 2002 and has exported more than 107 tonnes of whale products to Iceland, Japan and the Faroe Islands in defiance of the CITES ban. Despite these exports, Norway’s whaling industry remains a marginal business. The Norwegian Government and private entities have created several marketing campaigns in an effort to improve domestic whale meat sales to a less-than-enthusiastic public. At the centre of these efforts is SPAR Norway, the country’s fourth largest food retailer.

SPAR Norway is part of NorgesGruppen ASA, the market leader in Norway’s highly competitive grocery retail andwholesale markets. SPAR International, a multi-billion euro enterprise with more than 12,000 retail stores in 40 countries, granted the license for SPAR in Norway to NorgesGruppen ASA in 1984. There are currently 276 SPAR and EuroSPAR stores in Norway. Investigations in the summer of 2015 revealed that a variety of whale meat products are sold in these stores. EIA has joined with partner conservation organizations to call on SPAR International to stop all sales and distribution of whale meat.

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