AWI Statement on Iceland Whaling Quota

Photo by Timothy Baker

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) strongly opposes Iceland’s decision Tuesday to establish a base whaling quota of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales annually from 2019 to 2023. Due to this misguided regulation, Iceland’s image as a nature tourism destination could face irreparable damage.

Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson based his decision, in part, on a macroeconomic review of Icelandic whaling released by the University of Iceland’s Institute of Economics in late January 2019 (“Skýrsla nr. C19:01 Þjóðhagsleg áhrif hvalveiða janúar 2019”). This review is an unsound document that does not provide a complete or accurate assessment of the impacts of whaling on Iceland’s economy, image and fisheries.

Iceland’s base whaling quota remains unchanged from last year, but it is still unclear if a carryover quota will increase the overall quota moving forward.

“Minister Júlíusson has failed not only Iceland’s whales but also the people of Iceland in making this decision,” said Susan Millward, AWI’s marine animal program director. “The deeply flawed macroeconomic review of whaling did not consider the welfare implications of whaling, nor did it accurately portray the negative impacts whaling has had on Iceland’s image and economy.”

Icelandic whaling quotas are not approved by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the only appropriate international organization responsible for the conservation and management of whales. Furthermore, commercial whaling is inherently cruel, unsustainable and impossible to regulate. AWI advocates for an end to commercial whaling, including Iceland’s unprofitable and unnecessary whaling industry.

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Media Contact

Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, margie@awionline.org

Photo by Timothy Baker