We’re working with a broad coalition to put an end to whaling in Iceland. Again.
In 2003, the ban on whaling in Iceland was overturned. Only one member of parliament was opposed to whale hunting and 70 percent of the country supported it.
Beyond the touristic draw of whale meat as a traditional Icelandic cuisine, the argument for overturning the ban centered around the jobs whaling would create, and the positive impact that would have on the economy. IFAW couldn’t stand by and watch as progress was rolled back.
We launched a public awareness campaign, engaging with politicians at all levels of government, from Iceland’s parliament to Reykjavik’s local City Council. We visited 200 different schools, teaching the next generation about better alternatives to commercial whaling.
In the process, we found new partners as well. The Association of Icelandic Tourism Operators worked with us to bolster the country’s whale watching industry. With our Meet Us Don’t Eat Us campaign, we reduced demand for whale meat, and worked with the fishing and restaurant industries to promote alternatives to whale meat.
Today, our work is paying off. Over one-third of the members of parliament oppose whaling. The number of restaurants that serve whale meat has plummeted, as has public demand for the product.
And with the support of the tourism industry, the government has reduced the size of whale hunting areas by 85 percent.
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