Tomas H. Heidar: Why Iceland will continue to hunt whales
Wednesday 23 June 2010
I want to try and explain why Iceland conducts whaling and why we will not give it up.
The first reason is that whaling is important to our economy. Income is generated from the sale of whale meat and 200 seasonal jobs rely on the whaling industry. In a country with a population of 300,000, 200 jobs are significant, particularly considering the economic crisis that we currently have.
Whales also have an indirect economic impact on the rest of our fishing industry, which is absolutely crucial to us. We export about 95% our fish catch and thousands of jobs are generated by the commercial fishing industry.
But there is competition between the whales and fishermen. Minke whales, for instance, eat cod whilst fin whales feed of food that fish also feed on. We have produced estimates that show if we conduct sustainable whaling we would also be able to have higher quotas on commercial fish catches.
But the most important reason to understand why we do whaling – and this is often forgotten – is the principle. This is about the right of a coastal state to exploit its living marine resources in a sustainable manner.
Many NGOs and anti-whaling countries see the oceans as some sort of giant zoo or sanctuary. But we look upon the ocean as a resource which we have a right and obligation to utilise in a sustainable manner for both ourselves and future generations.
The talks in Morocco broke down because the anti-whaling countries were not willing to find a compromise. The obvious compromise between sustainable whaling countries and anti-whaling countries will be limited whaling with reduced quotas. But it seemed there are so many anti-whaling countries who are simply not willing to agree to that.
A proposal for a ban on international trade in whale products was also something that was brought up at the last minute by the anti-whaling nations. It was never discussed in the support groups in the lead up to the conference and it was something that we could never agree to.
Iceland is a country that lives off the export of its fisheries so as a matter of principle we can never allow limitation or restrictions on our sustainable resources.
Tomas H. Heidar is Iceland’s Whale Commissioner
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...