Iceland resumes whaling - first whale killed

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Iceland’s whalers have announced that they have killed their first whale since it was revealed earlier this week that the country was resuming commercial whaling.
Icelandic media is reporting that whalers have killed a 7.4-metre male minke whale. The whale, said to have been caught last night (Tue) in Faxafloi Bay near Reykjavik, is expected to be brought ashore later today.
 
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org), warned the Icelandic government that its decision to resume commercial whaling risks damage to the country’s economy and its international reputation.
 
It was announced on Monday that the government had issued permits for the slaughter of 40 minke whales and whalers began the hunt yesterday.
 
Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “This is very disappointing news. IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel – there is no humane way to kill a whale. It is also completely unnecessary and this decision could prove to be damaging to the Icelandic economy, and its international reputation.
 
“We strongly urge the Icelandic government to rethink this decision. There is little appetite for whale meat in Iceland these days and no export markets for the meat. We encourage Iceland to support its successful whale watching industry which offers a humane, sustainable and financially lucrative alternative, bringing in more than £10m a year.”
 
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.
 
In 2007 the Icelandic government announced that no further whaling permits would be issued while there was little market for whale meat. Following this announcement, 66.3% of Icelanders polled in a Gallup survey agreed with the decision to end commercial whaling.
 
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.

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