Iceland's Whaling Boats Resume Hunt

Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Yarmouth Port, MA
Iceland's whaling boats have left port to begin this season's hunt. Although there has been no official announcement from the Icelandic government, the quota is believed to be 39 -- its highest since resuming whaling in 2003.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) had earlier urged the Icelandic government to reject this quota, recommended by Iceland's Marine Research Institute several weeks ago, and call an end to so-called scientific whaling.

A joint statement by the British, French and German governments in May also strongly criticized the MRI's proposals for 39 minke whales to be taken.  Since August 2003, 62 minke whales have been killed in Iceland's coastal waters in the name of science. Consumers, however, have shown little interest in buying whale meat which has been put on the market.

A recent independent report, commissioned by IFAW to examine the market for whale meat, found very poor demand for the product in Iceland, together with restrictions on selling it abroad, meant Iceland's whaling was uneconomic. Much of the meat from whales hunted in Iceland in the last two years remains unsold in freezers.

IFAW marine campaigner Ellie Dickson said: "We are very disappointed that the Icelandic government has decided after all to go ahead with scientific whaling this year, despite widespread opposition. Our economic report shows that there is no future for whaling in Iceland. We also believe that whaling is extremely cruel -- there really is no humane way to kill a whale."

IFAW is also concerned by proposals to take a further 100 whales next year.  At last month's annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Ulsan, Korea, members rejected proposals by pro- whaling nations for a return to commercial whaling.

IFAW encourages responsible whale watching around the world as an alternative to whaling and helped set up Iceland's successful whale watching industry, which attracted more than 80,000 tourists last year.

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