The Committee on Hunting Methods provides advice on hunting methods for marine mammals. The advice is based on the best available scientific information, technological developments and traditional and local knowledge, with due consideration given to safety requirements, animal welfare and efficiency of utilisation. The Committee also provides a valuable forum for dialogue and exchange of information on hunting methods between hunters and veterinary experts from North Atlantic whaling and sealing nations.

Rules of Procedure govern the Committee’s functions. The Committee meets annually and reports from meetings can be found here.

The Committee on Hunting Methods consists of members appointed by the member countries.

Committee members:

  • Signar Petersen, Djóralæknastovan, Faroe Islands
  • Ulla Svarrer Wang, Ministry of Fisheries, Faroe Islands
  • Masaana Dorph, Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, Greenland
  • Amalie Jessen, Ministry of Fisheries, Hunting and Agriculture, Greenland
  • Jóhann Ásmundsson, Directorate of Fisheries, Iceland
  • Kristján Loftsson, Hvalur H.F., Iceland
  • Guro Gjelsvik, Directorate of Fisheries, Norway
  • Kathrine A. Ryeng, Institue of Marine Reserach

Iceland holds the Chair of the Committte on Hunting Methods.

Hunting of marine mammals often takes place under challenging and demanding circumstances. A rough environment (sea and ice), often cold temperatures, and moving targets makes it a difficult and sometimes life-threatening endeavour. Three factors are of particular importance; 1) the safety of the hunter, 2) the efficiency of the hunt, and 3) animal welfare. NAMMCO and its member countries are at the forefront here.

Animal welfare, measured by how quickly an animal is rendered unconscious or dead, has improved significantly the last 35 years. For example, the average time from the whale is hit to being unconscious has decreased from 11 minutes to 1 minute in the Norwegian minke whale hunt. Likewise, the number of whales that die instantaneously has increased from 17 % in 1981 to 82 % in 2012. Moreover, in Iceland 84 % of all fin whales hunted die instantaneously. You can read more about time to death on large whales here.

The Committee on Hunting Methods has developed hunting manuals on how to maintain and use the weapons and equipment deployed in hunting. The member countries have widely distributed these manuals to hunters and have also included them in the mandatory courses held for hunters. Furthermore it has developed a guideline to test efficiency of rifle ammunition and has carried out shooting trials to examine the effect of different rifle projectiles.

The Committee has structured a large portion of its work within Expert Group meetings and Workshops. Read about more about it here.

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