Anti-whaling ship heads for Iceland Published: 17 May, 2007
THE Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has launched a bid to try to halt Iceland’s controversial commercial whaling operations.
The organisation is sending its ship, Farley Mowat, north to Iceland to intervene and disrupt whaling activities and focus the world’s attention on Iceland’s planned killing of 60 piked (Minke) and nine fin whales.
The Society, which took on the Japanese last year, said that after a 20 years absence Iceland had returned to whaling in flagrant violation of the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales.
Sea Shepherd spokesman captain Paul Watson said: “We have an ongoing commitment to end whaling and we will not rest until this goal has been accomplished.In 1986, Sea Shepherd enforced international conservation law in Iceland by sinking two of the Icelandic whalers at dockside and destroying the whale processing plant.
We cannot and we must not allow them to destroy these whales, and therefore, we have no alternative but to put our lives and our ship on the line for the defence of the whales of the North Atlantic, Capt. Watson added.
Despite widespread international protests and several calls for a fish boycott, Iceland has last week resumed the hunt for minke whales, although commercial hunting has been put on hold until June, when scientific hunting has been completed.
A growing number of people in Iceland have already expressed their disapproval at the move, although a majority of the population still support commercial whaling.
However, fish processing companies are worried that it could lead to a boycott of Icelandic caught seafood in the longer term.
Just last month, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society urged food shoppers in the UK to stop buying Icelandic fish products and it singled out Grandi hf, Iceland’s largest fishing company and a major exporter of cod and haddock to the Humber , as the main ‘offender’.
Meanwhile, the landlocked mountain country of Laos is to join the International Whaling Commission, officials have said. It is making the move at the behest of Japan, which has long campaigned for a resumption of commercial whaling and stands accused by campaigners of buying votes on the body. Each country, however small, has an equal vote and Laos is many miles from any sea.
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