WHILE EUROPE SLEEPS, ICELAND RESUMES LARGE SCALE WHALING OF OCEAN GIANTS Published: 04 September, 2009
This summer Iceland has slaughtered more than 150 whales, including 93 fin whales, one of the true ocean giants.
Experts from the WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) have today expressed their anger and great concern following the alarming discovery that Iceland has killed at least 93 endangered fin whales this summer, making this (together with an additional 63 minke whales) the largest commercial whale hunt in North Atlantic waters for decades. The meat and blubber from the whales may yield a staggering two million kilogrammes of edible products.
‘This is an outrage,’ said WDCS spokeswoman Kate OConnell. ‘There is simply no way that so much whale meat and blubber can be consumed domestically, and the whalers are deluding themselves if they think they can make any money exporting whale meat to Japan. Sales of whale products in Japan have made financial losses for much of the last 20 years, and market demand there has dropped. Icelands whaling policy seems as ill-founded as its economic policies have been.’
In comparison, in the last two years combined, Iceland killed a total of 82 minke whales. The sudden, unjustifiable increase goes totally against efforts to conserve these whales in neighboring European waters. Icelands actions are even more baffling when set against the countrys negotiations to gain entry into the European Community where such hunting is banned.
WDCS calls on Europe – and other members of the IWC (International Whaling Commission) – to make Iceland stop this barbaric practice. The fin whale is the second largest animal ever to have lived, it is in the process of recovery from previous industrial whaling and is still regarded as endangered. Icelands activity marks a return to the large scale killing of whales that many believed had been consigned to history.
Mark Simmonds, WDCS chief scientist, said|: ‘The fin whales are highly migratory and do not belong to Iceland. The same animals that they are killing should be enjoyed by others living further south. The population structure of the North Atlantic fin whale is poorly known but they are regularly seen around the British Isles, in the Bay of Biscay, and their best known breeding ground is around the Azores where they are enjoyed by many tourists.’