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
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...