Two men; whales are their livelihood. Konrád Eggertsson is a whaler, living in Ísafjördur, a town in the West fjords. Hördur Sigurbjarnarson runs a leading whale watching company, North Sailing, located in Húsavík, Northeast Iceland. Iceland Review asked them ten questions, and here are their arguments in the case of Man vs. Whale.
Published in the 2011 autumn issue of Iceland Review – IR 49.03. Words and photos by Páll Stefánsson.
1. Does whaling matter to Iceland, and should we continue commercial whaling?
Hördur Sigurbjarnarson: Economically speaking, whaling has a negative effect on Iceland, and therefore we should stop it.
Konrád Eggertsson: Yes, whaling is very important, not only for the economy, but because it is also part of our culture, with its 98-year-old trade history.
2. Can whaling and whale watching successfully coexist?
HS: In the long run, no. Today, minke whaling is significantly harming whale watching around Iceland.
KE: Yes, it works very well together; you go whale watching, and afterwards you have a taste of some minke whale. Whalers have been forced to move from old whaling territories; they have been defeated.
3. Do you feel that the whale population is growing around Iceland?
HS: The areas of Skjálfandi bay and Eyjafjördur fjord, which I know best, have definitely seen more humpback whales, but less—much less—minke whales.
KE: There’s been a big growth; it’s not only a feeling, you see many more humpback whales—and it is very strange that we don’t want to know about its feeding patterns.
You can read the remainder of this article in the 2011 autumn issue of Iceland Review – IR 49.03. Four times a year the print edition of Iceland Review brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson's latest images of the country's majestic landscape. Click here to subscribe and here to browse through a selection of pages from the current issue.