Seventeen minke whales have been killed in Iceland so far this season, out of a quota of 269. Representatives of the minke whaling industry are threatening to import whale meat from Norway, in defiance of an international ban on trade in such products, and the Hvalur whaling company is continuing its shipments of endangered fin whale meat to Japan.
Whaling is inherently inhumane, with whales being harpooned from a moving vessel on a moving ocean. The government of Iceland has failed to fulfill its promise to undertake a scientific, statistically significant study on how long minke whales suffer after they are harpooned. Icelandic whalers use harpoons fitted with penthrite grenades, which penetrate the whale's body and then explode, releasing claw-like protrusions to rip into the flesh. Even the most advanced whaling methods cannot render the animals insensitive to pain prior to death.
Despite the fact that Iceland is a member of the International Whaling Commission, which has declared a moratorium on commercial whaling, Iceland continues to whale under a politically controversial "reservation" to the moratorium. Since Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006, more than 400 minke whales have been killed. An additional 200 minke whales were killed from 2003 until 2007, under the guise of scientific research.
The Icelandic Whale Watch Association (IceWhale) has called on its government to stop all whaling, stating, "We believe that the only rational, sustainable and justifiable utilization of whales in Iceland is whale watching.” With more than 300,000 tourists going whale watching in 2016, responsible whale tourism is far more important to the Icelandic economy than whaling.
What You Can Do:
Write to Iceland’s Ambassador to the United States, to let him know that you are opposed to his country continuing to allow the killing of minke and fin whales. Encourage him to support responsible whale watching instead. You can send a politely worded letter to Ambassador Geir Haarde via AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here.
Please share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to write a letter, too.
As always, thank you very much for your help!
Director, Marine Wildlife Program