Minke caught by the whaling ship from Isafjordur in NW Iceland. Whalers cut the whale on board and place it in containers before bringing their boat in to the harbour.
In addition, key players are asking the Government to act on our
offer to encourage Iceland as a nature-based tourism destination in
the future, once whaling has come to an end. The Icelandic national
TV and radio ran a web poll asking people if they think the
Icelandic Government should accept Greenpeace's offer. By the end
of the polling period a total of 71 percent had voted said "yes,"
the Government should accept.
On board the Rainbow Warrior, our spokesperson Frode Pleym
welcomed the development: "The Icelandic people, particularly the
younger generation, are obviously starting to question their
government's whale hunting agenda. We know that Greenpeace will not
change opinion in a week, but this is a promising start."
Rainbow Warrior has now reached Seydisfjördur in the north of
Iceland, on its tour of the country. The purpose of the tour is to
engage in a dialogue with the public on the whaling issue, and to
support local opposition to the plan. The crew have been encouraged
by the reaction so far, as support for the government seems to be
falling in the towns which Rainbow Warrior has visited to expose
the fallacy of "scientific whaling."
The town of Husavik is one such example: "The Greenpeace
proposal is good for the Icelandic people, for tourism and for the
environment," says Fridrik Sigurdsson, Chairman of the Husavik
Marketing Council. "I want to send a short message to the
government: Stop whaling and don't start again. Whale watching is
extremely important to us but it is impossible to expand when we do
such a wrong thing as whale hunting. For us in Husavik it could be
Greenpeace photographer Nick Cobbing has been bearing witness to
the current activities of the Icelandic whaling fleet, flying over
in a light aircraft to photograph the flensing (or skinning) of one
of the 38 minke whales caught under the "scientific whaling"
It's time for the Icelandic Government to start listening to the
ever-increasing number of its own people and others all over the
world who say that these practices belong to the past, and have no
place in the future of what, in many ways, is one of the most
ecologically advanced nations in the world.
In a Kyodo news interview on 10 September Icelandic Prime
Minister David Oddsson admitted that a resumption of commercial
whaling would be dependent on the Japanese export market, because
demand at home was "very, very small."
According to Frode Pleym this admission means that "The
Icelandic Government may just as well cancel all plans for whaling,
since there will never be any export to Japan. International
reactions and, ironically, toxic contamination of whale meat would
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES) bans trade in minke whale meat products, and while Japan,
Iceland, and Norway hold a reservation which they claim exempts
them from the ban, strong international pressure has been brought
in the past to enforce CITES regulations. High levels of
contamination from North Sea pollutants have led to warnings from
Japanese consumer groups that whale meat captured in arctic waters
is unfit for consumption.
The Rainbow Warrior made her maiden voyage to Iceland in 1978.
Many of the countries that were then whaling nations are today the
staunchest opponents of commercial whaling. They now accept that
the oceans are severely degraded and that whales face a complex
array of environmental threats including those posed by toxic
chemicals, climate change and even noise pollution. In such
circumstances it would be folly to restart whaling, especially when
there is a truly sustainable alternative: whale watching.
Follow the voyage of the Rainbow
Warrior around Iceland at the Iceland Tour