The ambassadors to the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France and Finland to Iceland met with Minister of Fisheries Steingrímur J. Sigfússon on Friday to discuss their stance on commercial whaling.
Whale watching in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The ambassadors handed over a joint declaration. “We know the attitudes of these states and there were no threats involved,” Sigfússon told Fréttabladid.
“But we discussed many things. The ambassadors for example raised awareness of the fact that roughly half of all tourists who come to Iceland come from these seven nations,” Sigfússon said.
Sigfússon’s predecessor Einar K. Gudfinnsson issued a new quota on fin whales and minkes shortly before he left his post and Sigfússon is considering revoking his decision.
The minister has also met with representatives of whaling companies and others who support commercial whaling to listen to their views on the matter. Iceland’s tourist industry is generally opposed to whaling.
Last week 36 MPs, the majority of MPs in parliament, signed a parliamentary resolution that commercial hunting of fin whales and minkes be continued with quotas issued for periods of five years, according to recommendations from the Icelandic Marine Research Institute.
According to a recent article in Vidskiptabladid business weekly, Iceland is a small player compared to the world’s most active whaling nations, the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway and Greenland, based on statistics from the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
In 2007, Iceland only accounted for two percent of the world’s total whale catch. However, the new whaling quota issued by Iceland’s Ministry of Fisheries is expected to lead to a considerably higher catch than in recent years.
Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.