Icelandic economy collapses – animals pay the price.

Dear Friends,

News from Iceland has sent shockwaves through the whale conservation community. I have asked David Jay in our Campaign department to explain….

“There’s nothing like a financial crisis to encourage politicians to make short-term, unpopular and ultimately costly decisions. And this seems to be just what has happened in Iceland this week, with the current (soon to be replaced) government announcing a huge increase in the country’s whaling quota for the next five years. The new annual quotas permit the hunting of 100 minke whales – more than twice the number of the last three years – and even more shockingly the slaughter of 150 endangered fin whales a year compared to 7 last year!

There seem to be several reasons for this outrageous decision, not least the fact that last year there was a ‘successful’ export of fin whale meat (which isn’t eaten in Iceland) to Japan. Seeing this export as a potential boost to the crumbling national economy appears to be the main justification for the Icelandic decision.

More sinisterly, however, some sources say that it is simply a case of the current administration lashing out before being removed from office and replaced, (it is expected), by a Social Democrat / Green coalition. Although the incoming administration has publicly condemned the new quotas, it seems that reversing them may not be top of its agenda when it gains power, so they could remain in place throughout the next whaling season. Such an unsustainable, not to say inhumane, harvest goes against the grain of Iceland’s popular whale-watching tourism industry, and may undermine future income from this growing market.

Let’s hope that the new government takes a strong stance against this aberration born of panic, and reverses it before the country’s eco-tourism, and the vulnerable whales living in its waters, suffer the consequences.”

Blogging off,

Will

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