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Whaling in Iceland permitted

Minister of Fisheries, Einar K. Gudfinnsson, announced in parliament yesterday that commercial whaling in Iceland will resume after a 17 year ban.

Gudfinnsson made the decision in accordance with the government’s policy on sustainable whaling for the 2006-2007 hunting season. This is reported in all the main media.

The Minister of Fisheries decided to limit whaling to nine fin whales and 30 minke whales in addition to the 39 minkes that Iceland’s Marine Institute is allowed to hunt for scientific purposes in 2007.

According to mbl.is, the Marine Institute suggested that up to 400 minkes and 200 fin whales could be hunted yearly for sustainable whaling.

The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) have estimated how many whales there are in the Central North Atlantic.

According to their estimation, there are 25,800 fin whales and 43,600 minke whales in Icelandic waters. The Minister’s decision means that 0.2 per cent of all minkes can be hunted and only 0.04 per cent of all fin whales.

Other IWC member nations, including the USA, Norway, Japan and Greenland, hunt whales commercially in accordance with the Commission’s rules. Iceland became a member in 2002.

Bladid reports that the British government has criticized Iceland’s decision to resume whaling and urges the Minister of Fisheries to reconsider. The British government predicts that whaling will have negative effect on Iceland’s image.

To read yesterday’s story on whaling, click here.

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