The One Earth Project Marketplace funds on-the-ground climate solutions that are key to solving the climate crisis through three pillars of collective action — renewable energy, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. This project protects ocean biodiversity through education and awareness.
Commercial whaling in Norway has killed over 15,000 minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) since 1986, making it the largest single cause of unnatural mortality for these creatures and leading to their extinction. Because they are larger, slower moving, and swim close to the coastline, 70% of the minke whales killed are female. Of those, 90% are pregnant, putting the species further at risk.
This project from the Endangered Species Protection Agency (ESPA) aims to save this species by raising awareness of their importance to the marine ecosystem. Support will help tour a documentary film, along with an education campaign.
Norwegian whaling quotas based on insufficient data
ESPA, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and conserving threatened and endangered species, is producing a documentary that examines the basis for Norwegian whaling quotas. Currently, the Norwegian catch quota allows up to 917 minkes to be hunted per year.
However, these quotas are based on abundance counts of the number of minkes in Norwegian waters at certain times in their migration cycles rather than an assessment of the global population. Norwegian scientists openly admit that the health of the overall population is unknown. Without this crucial data, whaling cannot be deemed sustainable.
Giants of the ocean and climate champions
Whales play an essential role in regulating and maintaining valuable marine ecosystems. They provide the nutrients that support populations of phytoplankton, which capture large amounts of carbon. Phytoplankton also produces half the oxygen the planet requires, and they cycle nutrients through the entire marine food chain.
In addition, whales store an average of 33 tons of CO2 during their lifespan. Once they die, their carcass sinks to the seafloor, trapping that carbon for thousands of years. As rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere contribute to a warming climate, the benefit of whales for carbon storage is essential for supporting a healthy planet.
Raising global awareness about whales
ESPA's documentary will raise global awareness of the importance of whales to the Earth’s shared ecosystem and question Norway’s continued killing of a threatened whale species. The film's highly experienced team includes award-winning filmmakers and experts in marine biology and video journalism.
Leading scientists are interviewed about the importance of whales, including some of the world’s few minke researchers. The film will also include expert testimony on Norwegian coastal culture, fishing methods, and history.
Inspiring audiences to protect ocean biodiversity
By revealing current whaling practices, ESPA hopes to stop the Norwegian government from supporting and subsidizing the whaling that continues to threaten a dwindling population of minke whales.
Through the power of film, education, awareness, and ensuing international media coverage, this project will also inspire audiences worldwide to protect ocean biodiversity.