When Bjørne Kvernmo docked his ship, “Havsel,” at the port in Tromsø this month, he knew it would be the end of a tradition he’s kept up for 40 years. With his return, northern Norway’s long-standing seal hunt had finally come to a close.
At the port, a crowd waited for Kvernmo and his crew. They wanted to snatch up a piece of Tromsø’s last seal catch.
“When we arrived in Tromsø, people attacked us… people wanted to buy the seal meat, pick and take at any price,” Kvernmo said. “We didn’t have enough meat.”
Kvernmo’s ship was the only seal-hunting vessel to sail out of Tromsø this year. Since Norway’s parliament axed a 12 million kroner (€1,42 million) subsidy to the seal hunt from the 2015 budget last December, the few remaining seal hunters in northern Norway had called it quits. But Kvernmo decided to go on one final hunt ...
Subsidies have kept the seal industry alive, making up about 80 per cent of the revenue for seal hunters. Now, that revenue is gone, and the industry is no longer viable.
Full story at http://barentsobserver.com/en/culture/2015/05/tromso-says-goodbye-seal-hunt-long-lasting-local-tradition-27-05
Image: Harp seal mother and pup, by Aqqa Rosing-Asvid