Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Guðfinnsson's decision to allow whale
hunting, saying the effects of the decision could be "dramatic."
The whale watching companies Elding, Hvalalíf, Gentle Giants, Norðursigling and Sjóferðir Snorra issued a joint statement saying that they deplore the decision, in light of how popular whale watching in Iceland has become.
"Last year 115,000 people went whale watching, which has kept 200 people employed in this country. Whale watching is a big attraction that attracts foreign tourists and Icelanders alike," the statement says in part, citing as well the revenue and jobs the industry creates.
Whale hunting, by contrast, "is not sustainable or renewable. Iceland's image abroad has suffered as of late, and whale hunting will not help improve that image. We consider whale hunting a great threat to the tourist industry."
It is expected that the current government will reverse the previous minister's decision.
A number of whale watching companies have expressed regret at former