As a lover of whales, or perhaps as a lover of great literature, you will recognise the reference to one of the greatest epic novels in the English language. Herman Melville's Moby Dick is an extraordinary tale of the obsession of a whaling captain, Ahab, driven to hunt a majestic white whale to the exclusion of all else in his life.
Shouting out, “to the last I grapple with thee, from hell’s heart I stab at thee, for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee”, Ahab launches a final harpoon, only to have the rope attached to the spear wrap itself around him, dragging him down into the cold ocean depths as Moby dives. The whale then takes his revenge, destroying the vessel and crew. The only survivor is the first-time whalerman, Ishmael.
So I know you didn’t tune in to these pages for a literature lesson. You are here because you care about whales and dolphins, and to find out what challenges they face. But the Moby Dick reference was just too much to pass by. WDCS has learned that a legendary Norwegian whaling captain, Olav Olavsen, has indicated that he is going to put down his harpoon and retire from whaling. According to a Norwegian fisheries journal the captain of the whaling vessel Nybraena has said that he has “fired his last shot”.
Olavsen has been hunting whales since 1958. So just why is he giving up whaling after fifty years? Captain Olav had been caught killing a minke whale in a section of Norwegian waters that had been closed down to hunting because the area’s quota had already been reached. He had to pay the government a fine of 40,000 kroner. Not liking either the regulation or the fine is what seems to have driven him to hang up his harpoon for good.