Iceland Resumes Whaling
Iceland’s Fisheries Minister announced a quota of 40 minke whales earlier today despite the damage to the country’s economy and its international reputation whaling causes.
Iceland announced in 2007 that no further whaling permits would be issued while there was little market for whale meat, the Icelandic government is believed to have issued permits for the slaughter of 40 minke whales and whalers are expected to begin the hunt Tuesday May 19, 2008.
The resumption of commercial whaling is extremely damaging to the
already fragile Icelandic economy, and its international reputation as
an ecotourism destination. When Iceland killed seven endangered fin
whales for commercial use in 2006, the move was met with unprecedented
public outcry and the meat went straight into frozen storage with no
markets found for it. In contrast, whale watching offers a profitable
alternative to whaling, with more than 100,000 people going whale
watching in Iceland last year alone.
Gallup polling carried out in Iceland in 2006 revealed that only 1.1%
of Icelanders claim to eat whale meat once a week or more, while 82.4%
of 16 to 24-year-olds never eat whale meat.
An international whale watching conference staged in Iceland in March
by IFAW and Icewhale (Iceland’s whale watching association), attracted
delegates from around the world, including Australia, the US, Brazil
and Norway. During the conference delegates from 11 countries issued a
joint statement declaring that commercial whaling poses a threat to the
success of whale watching and eco-tourism.
Write the Icelandic government to put down the harpoons and protect whales!