Extra: A Modern Whaler Speaks Up
Freakonomics Radio
Sun, August 6, 2023
Podchat Summary

Episode Description: The Life of a Norwegian Whaler

In this episode, we sit down with Bjorn Andersen, one of the biggest whalers in Norway, to discuss his life as a fisherman and whale hunter. Growing up in a fishing family, Andersen shares how he became a whaler after the International Whaling Commission implemented a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

Andersen provides a fascinating insight into his work, explaining that he not only fishes for cod and herring but also hunts minke whales. He takes us through the process of hunting whales, from locating them to using harpoons and bringing the massive creatures onto the boat.

During the interview, Andersen sheds light on the economic aspect of whaling, revealing that the meat and blubber from the whales are sold to stores in Norway and even exported to Japan. He argues that hunting whales is crucial for maintaining the balance in the ecosystem and ensuring a sufficient fish population for future generations.

However, Andersen doesn't shy away from criticizing the Save the Whales movement. He believes that they fail to understand the nature of sustainable harvesting and the importance of responsible whaling practices. Despite the controversy surrounding whaling, Andersen remains optimistic about its future in Norway, suggesting that it may even increase in the coming years.

Tune in to this episode to gain a unique perspective on the life of a Norwegian whaler and the ongoing debate surrounding whaling practices.

Original Show Notes

Bjorn Andersen killed 111 minke whales this season. He tells us how he does it, why he does it, and what he thinks would happen if whale-hunting ever stopped.  (This bonus episode is a follow-up to our series “Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.")

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