An Update On Iceland
On the 18th April the Iceland Government decided to defy international opposition to whaling and confirmed a quota of 100 minke and 150 fin whales this year. Fin whales already have to endure numerous environment threats including climate change, pollution, over-fishing and ship strikes and are consequently listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union. Did you know that it is estimated that their global population has declined by more than 70% worldwide over the last three generations. A fin whale tagged in Iceland a couple years ago was tracked all the way to the Canary Islands in just a few months! It's very possible the fin whales seen by whale watchers anywhere in the North Atlantic are the very same whales in the harpooners crosshairs.
There is no humane way to kill a whale, and it can actually take up to an hour to kill a whale, which is first cruelly mutilated by an explosive harpoon and then shot with rifles or prodded with an electric lance. Issuing such a quota is not only absurd but it is also a serious blow to both international conservation efforts and animal welfare and whale conservation worldwide.
During last year’s annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, the commission decided to create a small working group which would be tasked at dealing with various issues. Iceland is involved in these discussions thus their decision to hunt so many whales undermines the integrity of these discussions.
Iceland has shocked the international community and many retailers including Sainsburys, Waitrose, Marks and Spencers and Wholefoods have all written to the Icelandic Government. They have all expressed their dismay at Iceland’s whaling quota, stating neither they nor there customers want to be associated with any company that harms whales.
The fact that Iceland’s proposed whaling has resulted in so much global condemnation proves that hunting all these beautiful whales will definitely damage international Iceland’s reputation. IFAW believes that the best way for Iceland to take advantage of whales visiting its coastline is by supporting the excellent whale watching industry already enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.