Bernhard Bechter, an Austrian whale conservationist and founder of charity Globalance began his campaign “Cameras instead of harpoons” on May 11, in which he will cycle around Iceland dragging a coffin behind his bike.
“We hope to generate support from the general public for whale watching as an alternative to whaling,” Bechter said.
Bechter’s aim is to raise awareness about the threat of whaling and to encourage people to go whale watching and take pictures of whales instead of harpooning them, as explained in a press release issued by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) this week.
WDCS, along with OceanCare and Bechter’s own Globalance, are backing his campaign.
The whale conservationist plans to cycle the 1,400-kilometer Ring Road along Iceland’s coastline and finish where he started, in Húsavík, northeast Iceland, on May 31, which is also the last day of the International Whaling Congress in Anchorage, Alaska.
“It is important to demonstrate how fascinating encounters with these majestic marine mammals are and how important their contribution is towards the Icelandic economy when they are protected,” said Ásbjörn Björgvinsson, director of the Whale Museum in Húsavík. The town is considered the heart of whale watching in Iceland.