Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson announced this weekend that no new quota will be issued for commercial whaling for the next fishing season, beginning September 1, since the whale meat from the current season remains unsold.
“I don’t think it serves any purpose to issue new quota allowances when nothing is selling,” the minister said, explaining it has taken longer than planned to sell the fin whale meat in Japan, Morgunbladid reports.
Seven fin whales and seven minke whales were caught during the last fishing season, after Iceland resumed commercial whaling last fall.
“We know that there is interest for the meat in the Japanese market,” Gudfinnsson stated, explaining several quality issues need to be taken care of before the meat could be sold, which has taken longer than planned. “But I’m sure the market will open up. There is nothing in international laws that prohibits such business.”
Gudfinnsson said the meat from the seven minke whales caught was sold successfully on the local market.
Árni Finnsson, head of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association, celebrates the minister’s decision. “I think it is very wise move. This way the minister puts the responsibility on the whalers. They have to prove that there is a market for the product in Japan.”
“Last year the minister believed they could export the meat, but it didn’t work out that way. Now he is taking precautions,” Finnsson said, adding that he doesn’t think there is any market for the whale meat. “And then the game is over.”