Whaling 'Goes Directly Against Iceland’s Interests' Skip to content

Whaling ‘Goes Directly Against Iceland’s Interests’

By Larissa Kyzer

iceland whale

Japan’s decision to exit the International Whaling Commission and resume commercial whaling will likely have an influence on the export of Icelandic whale meat to the country, says Árni Finnsson, director of the Icelandic Nature Conservation Association. The pending exit has already drawn criticism from the international community, Árni remarked in an interview with RÚV, as has Iceland’s continued involvement in this industry. Icelandic whale meat is sold domestically, as well as being exported to Japan, which also buys whale meat from Norway.

The Guardian reported that On Wednesday, the Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Yoshihide Suga announced that the country would be withdrawing from the international regulatory body effective June 30, 2019, and in July will resume commercial whaling within its coastal waters for the first time in over 30 years. There has been a global ban on commercial whaling since 1986.

Not only does Árni believe that Iceland will face an increase in international pressure to discontinue whaling practices, he also believes that Japan’s decision will make it harder for the Icelandic government to distribute quotas for whaling catch that will be sold to Japan.

“I think that whaling’s time has long passed and there isn’t really any demand for this product in Japan. Iceland has every interest in protecting the ocean, in supporting and strengthening international oceanic protections against ocean acidification, climate change, and pollution,” he remarked. And in order to promote climate change cooperation and solidarity, Iceland needs to maintain good international relations.

Whaling, Árni concluded, “goes directly against Iceland’s interests.”

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