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Iceland halts whaling

Iceland halts whaling; until demand picks up

Iceland halts whaling
August 24, 2007

With stagnant demand for whale meat nearly a year after ending its ban on commercial whaling, Iceland said it would not issue new whale-hunting quotas until it gets an export license from Japan, reports Reuters.

“The whaling industry, like any other industry, has to obey the market. If there is no profitability there is no foundation for resuming with the killing of whales,” Einar K. Guofinnsson told Reuters. “I will not issue a new quota until the market conditions for whale meat improve and permission to export whale products to Japan is secured. There is no reason to continue commercial whaling if there is no demand for the product.”

Annual whale harvest from 2001-2006 (2006 figures are not complete). Graph by, data from Science, background image courtesy of R. Wicklund OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP); University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Last year Iceland announced it would allow the harvesting of 30 minke whales and 9 fin whales, effectively ending a ban that had been in place since 1986. The move was met with widespread criticism by environmentalists who urged a tourism ban for the North Atlantic country.

According to Reuters, Iceland has killed just seven minke whales and seven fin whales this year due to lack of demand for whale products.

Source: “Iceland stops whale-hunting quotas after low demand” by Audbjorg Olafsdottir, Reuters, Fri Aug 24, 2007

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