Thursday, October 14, 2010

Iceland's Future Pivotal On Whales

Icelandic butcheryWhen Iceland's 2010 whaling season closed at the end of last month, 208 whales were dead - two more than last year. The 148 fin whales and 60 minke whales are estimated to generate more than 1900 tonnes of whale products, based on calculations used by the Icelandic government.
Despite the gradual demise in popularity of whale meat in both Japan and European whaling nations, Iceland's whalers took their highest catch since 1985. This has raised questions about what's actually planned for the mountain of whale products produced since last year.The Hvalur fin whaling company has tried to get around falling domestic demand by exporting 1500 tonnes to Japan, as well as promoting new uses for whale products. It's even gone so far as to use whale oil to fuel vessels to then hunt more whales. And despite limited returns, the company has vowed to continue whaling next season...
However Iceland's bid to join the EU may be dependent on it closing this barbaric industry. The EU Parliament is insisting that Iceland cease all whaling and drop all the reservations it has lodged with the International Whaling Commission, if it wants to join.
Icelandic whaling is a thorny issue, because there's no national consensus on whether to continue whaling or join the EU. Iceland suffered financial meltdown last year, and applied to join the EU during a national panic attack, desiring the security and benefits of 'Big Brother'. Since then, national sentiment appears to have cooled.
But if Iceland's desire for EU membership is in earnest, the 2010 whaling season could be its last.

1 comment:

P.Kincaid said...

But if Iceland is allowed to join the EU, and then reneges on its ceasation of whaling, what are the penalties - if any?
Would there just be a tut-tut slap on the wrist, or can the EU impose heavy sanctions?
What I'm saying is, once Iceland is IN, what's to stop them killing whales again?