Monday, October 23, 2006

Iceland, you're on notice!

Iceland kills fin whale, breaks ban
Commercial hunt outlawed in 1986

Species on list of endangered animals
Oct. 23, 2006. 05:35 AM

REYKJAVIK—Iceland has broken a global moratorium on commercial whaling, killing an endangered fin whale for the first time since the 1980s, the Icelandic media reported yesterday. Iceland's RUV television showed footage of a large fin whale being towed by the Hvalur 9 whaling boat. It said the whale was harpooned in the North Atlantic about 320 kilometres west of Iceland. Iceland announced last week it would resume commercial whaling, ignoring a worldwide moratorium that came into effect in 1986. Fisheries Minister Einar Kristinn Gudfinnsson said his ministry would issue licences to kill nine fin whales and 30 of the more numerous minke whales in the year ending Aug. 31, 2007. The announcement was condemned by conservation groups and many governments around the world, but praised by pro-whaling Norway and Japan. The International Fund for Animal Welfare's Joth Singh called the hunt "cruel and unnecessary." Icelanders have been hunting whales since the days of the Vikings, but stopped commercial whaling in 1985, and scientific whaling in 1989, under the international moratorium on commercial hunts. It resumed scientific whaling in 2003. Japan, Iceland, Norway and other pro-whaling states have been pushing the International Whaling Commission to revoke the 1986 ban on commercial hunts amid controversy over exactly how many whales are left in the world's oceans. At an IWC meeting in June, those countries passed a symbolic resolution to support ending the moratorium. Officially ending the ban would require a 75 per cent majority among commission members. Fin whales are on the International Conservation Union's "red list" of endangered species, but Iceland says they are plentiful in its coastal waters. Iceland's fisheries ministry said this week that there are more than 43,000 minke whales and 25,000 fin whales in Icelandic coastal waters, adding limited commercial hunting was "consistent with the principle of sustainable development."


Scott said...

Is it wrong of me to wonder what that whale tastes like???


Jennifer said...

No Scott, wondering anything is never wrong. They even came out with a tofu flavoured like human flesh for the curious.
But, actually killing whales, that is wrong. If you take a look at the article under the 'dead to me' section of the sidebar of my blog, there's one titled the Japan Whaling Association. Click on it and read it, it might give you an idea of what it tastes like. Here's a quote from that article, "'To put it simply, whale meat tastes horrible,' said 30-year-old Kosuke Nakamura..."
They are at the point in Japan where they are marketing the stuff as dog food because people just won't eat it.

Princess Pessimism said...

IS there some kind of punishment for this?? I didnt see it in the article.

Jennifer said...

The only punishments that exist in international law are sanctions, ie we won't trade with you if you do this. So if our government decides that it's important enough to put sanctions on Iceland or Japan or any other renegade whalers, then they will suffer as a result and maybe stop doing it. The government decides whether sanctions are warrented based on how much press something gets and how pissed off people are about it. So if you want to send Iceland the message to stop call your MP, or email and tell them what you think of whaling and how you think that trading with whaling countries is wrong. I'd suggest boycotting products from Iceland, but, well, I don't know if I use any products from Iceland to begin with.

Miss Ash said...

Did you eat whale in Japan Jennifer?

tokyo tintin said...

another way to register your protest for this revolting action would be to contact the icelandic embassy in ottawa.

you can do this through the 'contact us' section of the website at or by email at or by telephone at 613-482-1945

the icelandic consulate in toronto can be reached by email at or by telephone at 416-979-6740

tokyo tintin said...

they said that a whale hunt was "consistent with the principle of sustainable development" -but who the hell is benefitting from a commercial whale hunt? there is no market whatsoever for whale meat. as jenni pointed out, they are turning it into dogfood in japan because no one wants to buy it.

tokyo tintin said...


i don't understand why you put the japanese government in the 'dead to me' section though.

althogh i can actually think of several reasons to list them in there, they didn't actually have anything to do with turning whales into dogfood, which is what that article was about.

Jennifer said...

Ashley, are you fucking kidding me?! No, of course not. I'd sooner commit canibalism if it weren't for the prions. I even considered eating horse when I was there, but not whale.
I saw whale on the conveyor belt at a few sushi places and I stared at it the whole time it was going around so that I could glare at the jerk who took it and curse them under my breath.
TT, you're right, I think I'll change that, and put the International Whaling Commission on notice instead, for allowing 'scientific' whaling.

Jennifer said...

I just sent an email to Iceland's embassy in Ottawa, CCed to Bill Graham ( and Stephen Harper (, here's what it said:
I was absolutely shocked to read in the newspaper the other day that Iceland had decided to commercially slaughter whales in contravention of the worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling. I had always thought of Iceland as a progressive country, and as a place I'd like to visit. Quite frankly, now, I think you're a bunch of barbarians. Until your shameful killing of endangered whales stops, I'm boycotting your products and asking my government to place sanctions on trade with your country.

Jennifer said...

Those letters are damned hard to write, you don't want to go over the top and wreck your argument, but you need to say something at least mildly memorable, not just dry policy stuff. Anyway, I always like it when other people show me theirs so I can get a starting point for mine. No point in critiquing it to much, since it's already sent. But if you want to send a better one, and post it here, be my guest.

Trib said...

I thought I read someplace that they had started whaling again because they thought whales were eating all the fish. Which sounds pretty crazy.

sly said...

i've eaten horse, both cooked and "tartare." and it's quite tasty.

but that's not the point, the point is that jenni and danboy are good citizens for actively speaking out against whaling. my kudos to both of you.

Jennifer said...

Trib, it does sound crazy doesn't it. It's hard to generalise about all whales, but let's do it anyway. Different whales have different diets. I'm not sure what the diet is of the whales that they killed in Iceland, if I had time, I'd probably look it up. Anyway, if the whales are top predators, and are eating seals say, which eat fish, then taking whales out causes an increase in seals and a decrease in fish. Taking top predators out of any ecological situation can be extremely damaging. For example, in places where wolves, the top predator, have been killed out, the forests can turn into grasslands because the wolves don't keep down the levels of grazing in the deer any more, this completely changes the landscape and takes away the homes for all the little birds and things that would live in a forest but not a grassland.

Sly, you're hilarious, you won't eat onions, but raw horse, sure!

Egill said...

It can´t hurt to know both sides of the story.

Check this out:

Greetings from Iceland ;)