Whaling protesters cancel Iceland trip

Icelandic whaleIceland’s controversial decision to restart commercial whaling has drawn protests from organisations around the world. But one environmental group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has withdrawn from its plans to protest in Iceland and has decided instead to focus its efforts elsewhere.

The Society had plans to send one boat, the Farley Mowat, to the sea around Iceland. Activists planned to use the ship as a means of disrupting the whaling activities scheduled to take place this summer. In particular, activists hoped to draw international attention to the commercial slaughter of 60 Minke whales and nine fin whales authorised by the government of Iceland last year.

In May, the Society pledged to participate in the anti-whaling activities in Iceland this summer, but the organisation’s leader, Paul Watson recently withdrew that pledge.

Instead, the activists onboard will be helping with environmental efforts in the Galapagos Islands. The boat stopped there on its way to Iceland from Australia where the boat’s crew will help prevent iron dust from being released into the ocean in large quantities. Paul Watson is putting off the campaign in Iceland until next summer.

Commercial whaling resumed in Iceland following a study by the Iceland Marine Research Institute which found stocks of fin whales to be at a record high. “The whale stocks are very large and continue to increase in size, which has a negative influence on the size on the stocks of other marine species,” claimed Einar K. Gudfinnsson, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries. “These results show without a doubt that there is a biological pre-requisite for whaling.”

The majority of people in Iceland support commercial whaling.