Anti-whaling campaigners in the U.S. have sent an appeal to President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson in the hope that he will help put an end to commercial whaling in Iceland. A number of associations that collectively go by Whales Need US are behind the appeal.
Photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.
The timing of the appeal, which was published in Portland Daily Sun, among other media, was made to coincide with the president’s visit to Portland. He traveled there to attend the Maine International Trade Day, which began on Friday, ruv.is reports.
“The minke whaling season has already begun and the killing of endangered fin whales is set to resume within days. We ask you to consider Iceland’s growing whale watching industry, and that every one of Iceland’s whales is worth far more alive than dead,” the appeal reads.
According to the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners, the annual quota for fin whales is 154 animals. Twenty percent of the previous year’s unused quota can be transferred to the current year.
Commercial whaling was reestablished in Iceland in 2006. Fin whales were hunted in 2006 when seven animals were caught, in 2009, which saw a catch of 125 fin whales and in 2010 with a catch of 148.
The Icelandic Marine Research Institute estimated in 2001 that the size of the East Greenlandic-Icelandic fin whale stock was approximately 23,000 animals, up from 16,000 in 1989.
The annual quota for minkes, the other whale species commercially hunted in Iceland, is 229 whales. Last year 52 whales of the species were caught, 58 in 2011, 60 in 2010, 81 in 2009, 38 in 2008, six in 2007 and one in 2006.
The estimated number of minke whales in the Icelandic continental shelf was 20,000 animals in 2007, down from 40,000 in 2001. The species is believed to have relocated.