Iceland to Kill Endangered Whales...Why?
I came into work this morning, following two straight days of ER related training, and was prepared to write a post on IFAW Russian bear rescue (coming soon!). But as I was clearing out my Inbox I saw IFAW’s press release on this issue.
Iceland whalers are gearing up for a hunt that last ceased back in the 1980s. Yesterday the country announced that it would reinstate commercial whaling, thereby killing off nine fin whales and 30 minke whales per year.
Iceland is reinstating the hunt despite rejoining the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2002, whose members agree not to participate in commercial whaling for many reasons. (For example: scientific research does not support the accusation that whales are a detriment to local fish populations.) All members of the IWC except for Norway have ceased commercial hunting. Norway (currently basking in the glow of whale blubber) has stated a reservation towards the 20-year moratorium and has assumed the right to continue on with commercial whaling.
Commercial whaling is an outdated and unnecessary industry that should have ended a century ago with the use of whale oil lamps. The government of Iceland should be supporting its nation’s thriving and growing whale watching industry rather than sinking money and its political reputation into promoting the cruel hunting of whales.
Few Icelanders eat whale meat regularly; there is limited, if any, world market for the meat; and there is little scientific support for the theory that whales have a significant impact on the depletion of fish stocks. Furthermore, a growing number of jobs in Iceland depend on the developing whale-watching industry.
Icelanders seem to be generally environmentally conscious and in favor of using marine resources in a way that preserves them for future generations. This hunt is about catering to special interests, not the needs of Icelandic citizens.