Icelandic minister of fisheries, Árni Mathiesen, recently answered comments from the Australian government concerning the techniques that Icelanders use when hunting whale for scientific purposes.
Árni sent Ian Campbell, minister of the environment for Australia, a “lovely” letter reports the Icelandic Broadcasting Service, responding to questions on whale hunting and hunting techniques. He reminds Campbell about the permissions granted under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and that the Icelanders’ rights to hunt whales for scientific purposes is undisputed. He writes that according to a scientific assessment there are 44,000 minke whales in Icelandic waters this summer and that the Scientific Committee of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling agrees that the “proposed catches were highly unlikely to have any negative effect on the population.”
Árni says that it is very important for Icelanders to research the ecology of the ocean. He says that from a scientific viewpoint it would be “highly undesirable” to discontinue whale research, only by hunting whale will important questions relating to age, procreation, health, and pollution be answered. He assures Cambell that about 80% of the whales “die instantaneously upon being hit”. 20% become unconscious and die after a few minutes.
Árni concludes his letter by asking about the killing of kangaroos and camels in Australia. He says that last summer it was decided to allow thousands of camels and millions of kangaroos to be shot from helicopters. These animals are said to take water and feed from livestock, cattle and sheep.
Árni writes, “In light of your interest in the issue of killing methods I assume that Australia will submit relevant data on these activities to the forthcoming workshop on whale killing methods and associated welfare issues at IWC58.”
As of yet it is not known if or how this letter will effect relations between the two countries.
(The letter is now available on PR Newswire).