Hunting Manuals: use and maintenance of weapons and gears in whaling

In 2010 NAMMCO convened an Expert Group meeting assessing whale killing data of large whales. One of the recommendations from this meeting was to develop a user’s manual for hunting. The aim was to ensure efficient hunting and killing that would maximise the safety of the hunter and minimise animal suffering. The target groups are whalers, inspectors and wildlife officers, observers and others engaged in whaling. Manufacturers of weapons and whalers were consulted and contributed with valuable input, but the manuals are the responsibility of the Committee on Hunting Methods.

External financial support was granted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nordic Atlantic Cooperation (NORA). The work began in 2012 and was finalised in February 2015.

Three different manuals cover the different hunting methods used by whalers in NAMMCO member countries. The manuals are in English and the language of the country where the hunt takes place.

In Norway it is mandatory to have the manual readily available on board all active whaling vessels. In the Faroe Islands the manual is part of the teaching material in the mandatory course for pilot whale hunters. In Greenland, the Government have distributed more than 2 500 manuals to full time hunters.

Manual on maintenance and use of weaponry and equipment deployed in hunting of baleen whales in NAMMCO member countries

Manual on pilot whaling

Manual on small whale hunting in Greenland


Whaling operations are complex and can be unpredictable; following these guidelines does not necessarily guarantee personal safety, a successful hunt, or operation in accordance with national rules and regulations (permits and/or letters of authorisation). All responsibility is upon the hunters to undertake safe activities under their best judgment. NAMMCO and the authors of this document are not liable for any actions taken as a result of these manuals. 

Page photo courtesy of Björgvin Guðmundsson.

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