Hunstanton conservationist joins mission to end whaling

The end comes for the whale on Old Hunstanton beach as contractors move in to cut up the corpse and carry it away in skips.
The end comes for the whale on Old Hunstanton beach as contractors move in to cut up the corpse and carry it away in skips.

One of the first marine experts on the scene when a sperm whale stranded at Hunstanton is involved in a campaign to bring an end to whaling.

Natalie Emmerson, from Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, has visited Whitehall in a bid to step up the fight against the controversial practice.

She was one of many despairing conservationists who could do nothing to save the sperm whales that washed up on the beach early last year.

Four more died on the north east shore, and another 23 on other North Sea coastlines in a tragedy which experts put down to their having entered unfamiliar and treacherous seas.

Having been powerless to save the Hunstanton whales however, Natalie is hoping for more success helping to close a loophole in EU law which allows whale meat to be transported through EU ports.

She and a delegation from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) delivered more than 100,000 signatures to Marine Environment Minister George Eustice calling for the law to be changed.

Natalie said: “The signatures have been collected by Sea Life Centres on behalf of our affiliate charity The Sea Life Trust.

“The Trust and WDC are confident that closing the loophole would leave the few surviving whaling operations in Norway and Iceland without a viable means to ship their unsavoury produce to markets, mainly in Asia.

“If it forced them to finally abandon their grisly trade that could save the lives of thousands of minke and fin whales.”

Natalie, Hunstanton Sea Life’s designated conservation champion, and the WDC team have urged Mr Eustice to lobby European ministers to tighten the law, which already makes it illegal to trade whaling products within the EU.

He will not be alone, because both the Trust and WDC have already delivered the petition to German Minister Barbara Hendricks, who has already pledged her support to the campaign.