Minister Won't Comment on Whaling License Skip to content
Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, minister of food, agriculture and fisheries
Photo: Alþingi. Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir.

Minister Won’t Comment on Whaling License

Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, the new minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, will not comment on whether a whaling license will be issued this year, Morgunblaðið reports.

“I will not tell the press what I plan to do until I’ve made my decision,” she said this week. “And I don’t yet have all the necessary information that I need to make that decision.”

No hope of whaling, said CEO

As noted by Iceland Review last weekend, Kristján Loftsson, the CEO of Hvalur, Iceland’s only whaling operation, said that there was “no hope of whaling this summer” as things stand. On January 30, the company applied for a whaling license after its previous one had expired. The ministry did not respond until the middle of March, when it requested clarification from Hvalur on whether the company followed certain laws and stipulations.

Hvalur’s response was submitted on March 21 and the company has not heard back from the ministry since. Kristján has said that Bjarkey’s party, the Left-Green Movement, was methodically trying to “destroy the industry”.

No time limit stipulated

Kristján said that Bjarkey’s ministry, which was headed by her Left-Green colleague Svandís Svavarsdóttir before a cabinet reshuffling earlier this month, was only open to granting a one-year license, which would effectively make it impossible for the industry to operate, in his opinion. He added that without a license in hand at this point in time, the company can’t start hiring people or buying supplies for this summer’s whaling season.

Bjarkey added that the matter is being handled in a proper ministerial process and that there’s nothing in the law on whaling that sets a time limit for processing licenses.

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