The Icelandic Fisheries Ministry has issued a permit to hunt 39
whales for commercial purposes. Nine of these are endangered fin
whales - proving claims that the hunt is sustainable are not true.
An old Icelandic whale processing factory is also reportedly being
put back into service.
Norway used to be the only country openly conducting commercial
whaling. Japan currently conducts a large yearly hunt using the
pretence of "scientific whaling" to keep its industry alive. Since
2003, Iceland has also engaged in so called "scientific
The question of why?
Kristjan Loftsson, managing director of the Icelandic whaling
company, is said to be "pleased" about receiving the hunt permit.
But the question remains: why kill whales? Why try to revive a
dying industry with a long history of deception and
There is an excess of unwanted meat in Iceland, Norway and
Japan. In Iceland, they haven't even sold the meat from earlier
"scientific" hunts. There is just not much of a market for the
A Gallup poll, commissioned by IFAW and released last month,
found "Only 1.1 percent of Icelanders eat whale meat once a week or
more, while 82.4 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds never eat whale
meat." Not very optimistic numbers for a business venture.
Update: October 21,
A lone Icelandic whale hunter licensed to kill 39 whales made
his first kill: an endangered Fin whale. View slideshow
"The fact that the first kill was an endangered whale makes a
nonsense of claims that the hunt is sustainable," says our
campaigner JohnFrizell. "Iceland has no market for whale meat
internationally and almost none domestically. This hunt is no more
than pointless posturing, which achieves nothing except the further
depletion of an endangered species," he added.
Update: November 1, 2006
Today, 26 nations delivered a formal diplomatic protest to the
Icelandic government. The protest was led by the UK and signed by
nations from around the world including the US, Australia, Brazil,
France, Germany, Finland and Sweden. It condemns the decision to
resume commercial whaling, and the unilateral way it was carried
"Similarly, Iceland has set its quota using
criteria that have not been presented to or reviewed and approved by
the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) Scientific Committee.
deeply concerns us that the Icelandic Government awards itself a quota
that has not been approved according to the applicable international
provisions, before any possible effects on whale populations have been
properly assessed and peer reviewed by those bodies recognised as
competent to manage whale resources."
Also noted is the fact that fin whales are classified as
"Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and that
the trade in fin whales is prohibited under the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Iceland has a choice
are environmentally conscious and are in favor of using marine
resources in a way that preserves them for future generations.
Iceland's whale watching industry is known around the world and
brings in more revenue than whaling possibly could. Yet, the
Fisheries Ministry has done a favor for a very small interest
group, and granted a permit for commercial whaling.
This permit should be revoked before any more whales are
Whale watching and how you can help
Iceland is a stunning, pristine land that attracts hundreds of
thousands of tourists each year, many of them to go whale watching
in the clear arctic waters. Would you seriously consider taking a
vacation in Iceland rather than somewhere else if the Government of
Iceland stopped whaling?
whales tourism pledge
your thoughts in our discussion center.