Icelandic whalers harpoon first minke whale of season

Friday, April 27, 2007
Reykjavik, Iceland
Icelandic whalers have harpooned the first whale of the season, despite a lack of national support and increased international outcry. The minke whale was killed off the north-west coast of Iceland today, more than a week after whalers were granted permits to kill 39 minkes this season for so-called “scientific” research.
Poor weather conditions are believed to have hampered whalers’ efforts to find other whales so far. If 39 whales are harpooned this season, it will bring to 200 the number of minke whales killed since 2003 under Iceland’s scientific whaling programme.

Iceland and Japan both use a loophole in the worldwide ban on whaling to hunt whales for “scientific” research. However, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) believes“scientific” whaling is merely commercial whaling in disguise as no science of value has been gained and the whale meat is then put on sale in shops and restaurants.

In October 2006, Iceland provoked international outcry when it announced it was also resuming commercial whaling, setting a self-allocated catch quota of nine endangered fin whales and 30 minke whales. Seven fin whales were harpooned but the unsold meat remains frozen in storage.

IFAW urges Iceland to end whaling and instead support responsible whale watching as a humane and sustainable alternative to this cruel practice.

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