Iceland has announced that it will continue to permit the commercial killing of whales. Last year Iceland faced international condemnation for the slaughter of 146 fin whales and 6 minke whales over a 98 day hunting period.
The law in Iceland was renewed this year to allow commercial whaling to continue. Commercial whalers in Iceland will be permitted to kill 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales every year until 2023. Since 2006 Icelandic whalers have killed 851 fin whales.
In 1982 the International Whaling Commission banned the commercial whaling of all whale species. A ban that is still in place.
International Whaling Commission – List of Commercial Catches Please note that these figures are for the commercial whaling that is declared.
One of Iceland’s richest men Kristjan Loftsson runs the commercial whaling company Hvalur hf. selling most of the meat to the Japanese market. It is not eaten much by Icelanders although it is popular with many tourists.
Tourism has been growing in Iceland particularly with whale watching guided tours. This profitable industry will be at risk if there is a considerable backlash on Iceland’s decision to continue with commercial whaling.
There are many politicians and commentators in Scotland who praise the Nordic nations in particular those of Iceland and Norway – both commercial whaling nations. They use those nations as examples for Scotland to emulate but usually leave out the information about commercial whaling.
Other countries which hunt whales are: Canada, Greenland, The Faroes, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Russia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame