Fraserburgh rescue 800 miles and a world apart for whale welfare –

Fraserburgh rescue 800 miles and a world apart for whale welfare Published:  06 August, 2007

The minke whale was stranded in Fraserburgh harbour last week. (Photo courtesy of David Tait)

WHILST Britain fought to save the life of one lost minke whale, many more in Iceland are in danger as the government is on the verge of allowing more “killing quotas”, according to a wildlife organisation.

As national attention was focused on the second day of a rescue operation to save a minke whale in Fraserburgh (Northeast Scotland), the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and partner organisations were highlighting the plight of North Atlantic minke whales.

According to WSPA, less than 800 miles away, whalers are processing the 41 minke whales caught this year in Icelandic waters. Meanwhile in Norway, whalers recently reported a bumper kill of 167 minke whales in one week – one killed each hour.

The Icelandic government, which resumed commercial whaling of minke and fin whales in October 2006, despite a global ban protecting both species, is expected to announce its future whaling plans imminently.

Claire Bass, WSPA Marine Mammal Programme Manager, commented: “Britain is again showing itself as a nation of whale-lovers. Around 70,000 British people visit Iceland every year and the Icelandic government should keep in mind that these tourists are coming to see whales alive, not as dead meat.”

WSPA says that, despite evidence that whales are more valuable to Iceland alive than dead – its whale watching industry is reportedly estimated to be worth around £8 million, whilst whale meat is said to be piled up unsold in warehouses – the government is under pressure from its Fisheries Ministry to kill whales on the allegedly false premise that they must be killed to protect fish stocks.

Campaign Whale Director Andy Ottaway said: “Iceland, Norway and Japan will kill a total of over 2,000 minke whales this year in defiance of an international treaty that bans killing whales for profit. We can only pray that events like this are being watched in Reykjavik, Oslo and Tokyo. The world wants these wonderful animals saved not butchered.”

The World Society for the Protection of Animals, Campaign Whale, the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society are today unanimously urging the Icelandic government to abandon its whaling operations and pledge to join its British neighbour in protecting whales – both individuals and populations. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.