Whale research project in Norway kills whale

June 13, 2023

A minke whale has been killed in a controversial scientific project aimed at testing the hearing abilities of whales which is being run jointly by Norwegian and American researchers in Norway.

This is the third year that the researchers have tried to temporarily capture juvenile minke whales and confine them whilst their hearing and stress levels are measured. The project’s stated aim is to better understand how the whales respond to marine noise pollution. The methodology being used focuses on funneling juvenile minke whales into a pen where they will be held, electrodes placed to monitor their brain waves and blood samples taken.

Concerns have previously been raised about the welfare of the animals being trapped, including after one animal was lost and a humpback whale (not the target species) was accidentally trapped. Now the project has reported that their capture facility was damaged in stormy weather leading to the entanglement and death of a minke whale.

The project was briefly halted whilst repairs were made to the facility on July 7th but two days later the research team reported that they had strengthened the facility to prevent further accidents, including reinforcing its anchorages, and attempts to capture the young whales had continued.

OceanCare calls for this project to be ended before more whales are killed or injured.


Norwegian Defence Research Establishment: