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Greens dismayed at Iceland whaling decision

18 October 2006

Greens dismayed at Iceland whaling decision

News that Iceland is to begin commercial whaling after a 20-year hiatus is being greeted with dismay by Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

The Icelandic Government announced yesterday that whalers will be allowed to harpoon a commercial quota of 30 minke whales and 9 fin whales per year, despite an international moratorium on commercial whaling administered by the International Whaling Commission.

"The Green Party is appalled by this distressing news, which is a giant step backwards for whale conservation," Mrs Turei says.

"We are particularly concerned that one of the species Iceland proposes to hunt commercially, the fin whale, is on a Red List of endangered species. No endangered species of any kind should be subject to commercial hunting.

"Because Iceland's neighbour Norway has also resumed commercial whaling, this move will place great strain on the whale population in this region.

"Worse, there is no evidence of a commercial demand for whale meat in Iceland. As we have seen time and time again in Japan, consumers are not interested in eating whale meat in the numbers it would take to support a commercial operation. Icelanders have not been buying whale meat from scientific catches, so it is clear that the decision to resume commercial whaling is designed purely as a political affront to the International Whaling Commission.

"Given the lack of demand for whale meat, Iceland's decision is a particularly backward-looking one. The real commercial potential from whales is in whale-watching and sustainable tourism. It is to these initiatives that Iceland should be looking, rather than reverting 20 years and further endangering a threatened species," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS



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