Iceland's New Government to Keep Increase in Whaling Quota

Contrary to previous reports, Iceland’s new government announced that they will keep the controversial increased whaling quota that the outgoing Fisheries Minister enacted last month, just one day before leaving office.


Steingrimur J Sigfusson, Iceland’s new Fisheries Minister, said that the country will keep the whaling quota, but added that whalers should not expect the quota to extend five years, as was originally planned. The quota increase has been criticized by environmental groups because it allows the killing of 150 endangered fin whales.

The move is particularly strange because Iceland does not have a demand for whale products. They recently exported whale meat to Japan, which also is experiencing decreased demand for whale meat. Greenpeace called this the post troubling aspect of Iceland’s decision — why are they whaling when there’s nowhere to sell the flesh?

“Whaling makes absolutely no economic sense to Iceland. There is no market for the whale meat in Iceland, Japan or anywhere else on the planet,” said Willie Mackenzie, Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner. “Instead of looking to whaling as a solution to its economic woes, the Icelandic government should be looking to create sustainable jobs in whale watching and tourism.”

Photo Credit: René Ehrhardt on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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