Excerpt Of An Interview With IFAW's Robbie Marsland in Icelandic Newspaper
The best way to promote protection of animals is to establish a dialogue, increase understanding between the parties and offer assistance to locals to change,”
"...Experience has taught us that pointing fingers and naming and shaming nations or politicians will not bring us forward. The best way to promote protection of animals is to establish a dialogue, increase understanding between the parties and offer assistance to locals to change,” says Robbie Marsland, CEO of IFAW, who recently visited Iceland and had meetings with fisheries minister, Jon Bjarnason and environment minister Svandis Svavarsdottir.
This was the 12th visit by Marsland to Iceland over a period of five years, but has put huge efforts into the campaign against whaling by Iceland since scientific whaling started in 2002. During this period, IFAW has, according to Marsland, commissioned studies of the domestic market for whale meat, which revealed that less than 1% of Icelanders had bought whale meat during the last six months. Then the organization had commissioned a report on the cost of scientific whaling, which turned out to be one billion ISK during 1989 – 2005 and has commissioned a study on the reputation of Icelandic companies working in the international market.
“We soon realized that to many Icelanders, whaling was part of the national identity because whaling is linked to fisheries. We saw that our claims that whaling is inhumane would not be useful in the campaign. Rather it would be more useful to talk in what whaling costs. We have pointed out that whale watching is more profitable than whaling, pointed out the tiny size of the market world wide which again means that number of jobs createtd by whaling are miniscule, but opportunity in job creation related to whale watching,” says Marsland.