New Report Says Whaling Is Beneficial for Iceland Skip to content

New Report Says Whaling Is Beneficial for Iceland

By Iceland Review

Overall, Iceland’s whaling is nationally beneficial, according to the conclusion of a report conducted by the University of Iceland Institute for Economic Studies on behalf of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, which was presented yesterday.

Former Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson (right) and CEO of whaling company Hvalur hf. Kristján Loftsson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

“It has to be insured that whaling and whale watching can continue harmoniously and whale watching areas must be defined more clearly,” said Sveinn Agnarsson, the institute’s director, according to Morgunbladid.

The report assumes that the fin whale stock in Icelandic waters counts 22,100 animals and that the minke whale stock counts 53,000 animals.

If 150 animals from each whale stock are caught each year balance would be maintained, the report reasoned, but if more than 330 fin whales and 800 minkes were to be caught the whale stocks would collapse.

The institute estimates that salary payments for hunting and processing 150 fin whales per year amount to at least ISK 750 million (USD 5.8 million, EUR 4.3 million). However, it is uncertain how high the profits from fin whale hunting would be.

The report stated that the value added tax paid by whale watching companies is close to ISK 500 million (USD 4 million, EUR 2.9 million).

Multiple impact from whaling was not taken into account when the report was made because the economists who wrote it concluded the conditions for such calculations were too vague.

“The report is a good input for discussions,” said Minister of Fisheries Jón Bjarnason. “In whaling and whale watching there are certain interests that are at odds with each other but in other aspects the two industries can go together. We have to look further into that.”

The report also states that if 150 whales from each stock are caught each year, the cod fishing quota could be increased by 2,200 tons, the haddock quota by 4,900 tons and the capelin quota by 13,800 tons.

That could deliver ISK 12.1 billion (USD 94 million, EUR 70 million) in additional profits for the fishing industry.

Bjarnason would not say whether this estimate and the economists’ statement that whaling is nationally beneficial are sound enough reasons for it to continue.

However, whaling in Iceland will continue until at least 2013, as decided by former Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson.

Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.

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