Iceland whaling draws criticism from Greenpeace

whale watchingThe resumption of commercial fin whaling in Iceland is immoral, according to Greenpeace. Icelandic whaler Kristján Loftsson’s company Hvalur, which is backed by the country’s government, plans to catch as many as 180 fin whales over the summer months.

Last Tuesday, the whaler Hvalur 8 brought in the first fin whale of the season, a 68-foot long male, killing it at the port of Hvalfjörður.

Greenpeace is strongly against commercial whaling and highlights the fact that it is being carried out even though the International Whaling Commission (IWC) introduced a ban on the commercial hunt of whales several years ago. The species is also classed as ‘threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Greenpeace Nordic campaigner Martin Norman said that it is regrettable that a government-backed Icelandic whaler is able to undermine a worldwide ban on commercial whaling. He added that the ban is necessary to ensure the world’s whales’ survival.

Iceland is an IWC member and therefore part of a group of countries charged with the management of whaling. However, its government refuses to adhere to zero catch limits for commercial whaling.

Norman said that when a member of the IWC is trying to find ways round global bans, it leads to a slippery slope. He explained that the whales being hunted are not exclusively Iceland’s, and the country’s current unilateral approach is both immoral and unacceptable.

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