Iceland’s fisheries minister, Einar K. Guofinnsson, has announced he will not issue further commercial whale-hunting quotas.
Speaking to Reuters, he said it made no sense to issue new quotas when the present quota period expires on August 31, if the market for whale meat was not strong enough.
‘The whaling industry, like any other industry, has to obey the market,’ he argued. ‘If there is no profitability there is no foundation for resuming with the killing of whales.’
‘I will not issue a new quota until the market conditions for whale meat improve and permission to export whale products to Japan is secured. There is no reason to continue commercial whaling if there is no demand for the product.’
Last year Iceland ended a whaling ban in force since 1986 when it announced it would allow up to 30 minke whales and 9 fin whales to be hunted.
In the meantime, they have killed only seven minke whales and seven fin whales due to low demand for whale meat and by-products’
Since 2003 Iceland has conducted a separate ‘scientific” hunt for 200 minke whales, but after four years of whaling, is still six whales short of the quota. After reviewing the program, the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) decided not to support it.
According to Greenpeace, ‘whale experts around the world have demonstrated viable alternatives to lethal research which makes killing whales for science unnecessary’.