Icelandic fishermen have the right to hunt 400 whales a year… Yet none were finally killed last year, and the boats remained at the ports.
Would Iceland’s fishermen have heard the calls of environmentalists? Although Iceland is one of the last three countries in the world – along with Norway and Japan – to fish for cetaceans, absolutely no whales have been hunted in 2019. While whaling is too expensive for Icelanders, watching cetaceans is becoming a popular tourist activity off the coast of the country.
Iceland: 151 whales killed in 2018 – 0 in 2019
However, Iceland decided to resume hunting cetaceans in 2002.
Its permitted quota is 400 whales per year, and 151 cetaceans were killed in 2018, mainly for their meat.
So why this leniency in 2019? First, because the high costs of such a fishery mean that it is no longer profitable.
It must be said that since 2014, European governments have banned Icelandic whalers from mooring in their ports. An extra cost, while they stopped there on the road to Japan, where the demand for whale meat is also declining.
As a result, whaling, although considered part of Icelandic culture, is not expected to continue in 2020.
According to a survey conducted by the NGO IFAW, one-third of Icelanders are still in favor of hunting cetaceans, with one third opposed. But what can also make a difference is that whales have also gained economic importance from a tourist point of view: tourists today prefer to admire the world’s largest animal rather than consume its flesh. A “Come and see us, don’t eat us” campaign has been launched with iceWhale.