Help Iceland choose eco-tourism not whaling

Feature story - 5 September, 2003
Our flagship Rainbow Warrior has now arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland, on its mission to help overturn the Icelandic Government's plan to resume its 'scientific whaling' programme.

Iceland has announced it will recommence whaling in 2003.

The Rainbow Warrior will embark on a tour round the North Atlantic island to engage in dialogue with the people of Iceland, and to support existing local opposition from communities reliant on the tourism generated by whale watching. We are asking cyberactivists everywhere to e-mail the government and to pledge their willingness to spend vacation time in Iceland if whaling is not recommenced, and to invite their friends along with an e-card.

We need to let Iceland's leaders know the strength of international feeling on this issue. If international reaction is short lived the government will proceed with its plan, paving the way for a resumption of full scale commercial whaling for export in 2006.

At a press conference onboard the Rainbow Warrior spokesperson Frode Pleym made an offer to the Icelandic government:

"Greenpeace will be the link between people around the world and the people of Iceland who want to protect this island's natural resources. We will encourage our supporters and the general public to actively choose Iceland and nature based tourism in the future. We offer to work with the people of Iceland towards a future-oriented ecological society."

In return Greenpeace is urging the Icelandic Government to stop the current whale hunt of 38 minke whales; publicly agree that so called "scientific whaling" will not be resumed under any guise; and withdraw Iceland's reservation to the international ban on commercial whaling.

Pleym made the point that "The Icelandic Government's attempt to justify whaling 'on scientific grounds' is economic suicide. Whale watching is now the heart of an even larger nature tourism industry that is exceeded in economic importance only by Iceland's fish based industries. Already we see tourists cancelling trips to Iceland due to the whale hunt."

The advantages to Iceland of developing a whale meat and blubber industry remain unclear: the domestic market is very small and the only potential export market is Japan, where the issue remains highly controversial. Iceland's growing whale watching industry is already far more lucrative than whaling could ever become and a responsible government should be doing all it can to protect all cetaceans in its seas.

"There are no legitimate reasons for the Icelandic Government to hunt whales." said Frode Pleym. "The argument that it is necessary to control the minke whale population to safeguard cod stocks is pseudo science, and used by the Government simply to influence public opinion. They're holding their people hostage to an unsustainable tradition. Whaling is part of Iceland's past and Iceland's future can only be undermined by a renewed whale hunt."

The Rainbow Warrior first sailed against Icelandic whaling on her maiden voyage in 1978 when the world's largest mammals were on the verge of extinction. Today seven of the 13 great whale species are endangered, the remainder are still recovering from former overexploitation.

Take Action!

Tell Iceland you'll consider a trip to their beautiful shores -- when they stop whaling.

Send an e-card to your friends and ask them to join you.

Tell Iceland's Ambassadors you think Iceland should reconsider whaling

If you've already written to the Icelandic Ambassadors and received their reply, send this rebuttal!

More Information

Read Greenpeace's offer to the Icelandic Government

The truth about "scientific whaling"

A rebuttal to the Icelandic Ambassador's defence of scientific whaling.

Whale watching -- the future?

Whaling: A brief history