National Geographic : 2013 Jun
Viking Whalers 123 It isn’t a scarcity of whales that is bringing down the curtain, or even the complicated poli- tics of whaling. It’s something far more prosaic and inexorable: Norwegian kids, even those who grow up in the seafaring stronghold of Lofoten, simply don’t want to become whalers anymore. Nor do they want to brave storm-tossed winter seas to net fortunes in cod, as their forebears have done for centuries. Instead, they aspire to land safer, salaried jobs in distant cities or with the offshore oil industry, and they have been leaving their island communities in droves. There is irony in this turn of events. For most of its history, Lofoten exerted a gravitational A slab of whale meat is lowered into the hold by Marius Hanssen, who is responding to a signal from whaler Jan Bjørn Kristiansen. “Whaling has been my life,” says Kristiansen, who started as a deckhand in 1958. For Hanssen, a psychology student at the University of Tromsø, it’s a summer job.