Iceland

Iceland still engaged in commercial whaling

Standard Page - 11 May, 2011
Iceland is one of the three countries still engaged in commercial whaling - along with Norway it has a reservation against the IWC's moratorium on commercial whaling.

In the past, Iceland used the same loophole of "scientific whaling" as Japan - really an excuse for commercial whaling. Iceland briefly returned to commercial whaling in 2006, and again in 2008, having ended its "scientific program".

In January 2009, the Icelandic Government resigned following widespread protests over its handling of the financial crisis. On his way out the door, outgoing Fisheries Minister Einar Gudfinnsson controversially announced a massive increase in Iceland's whaling quota - an annual quota of 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales over five years, up from the quota of 30 minke and 9 fin whales issued in October 2006.

This decision came following pressure from the ailing whaling industry, which in its desperation, had latched onto the financial crisis and claimed that whaling was necessary to create jobs.  In reality, the move was no more than a shameless and cynical stunt.

International outcry ensued, with the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Finland and Sweden calling on interim Icelandic Prime Minister Sigurdardottir to reverse the decision.