An associate fellow for the Centre for European Reform says that if Iceland wants to join the European Union, then it must stop whaling. Iceland is currently in accession talks with the EU, with agricultural and fishing issues at the forefront of negotiations. Writing on the think tank’s blog, associate fellow Stephen Tindale argues that the EU could be flexible with Iceland on certain areas, but when it comes to fishing and whaling, they should stand firm:
On whaling, the Commission should not move at all. In 2006 Iceland resumed commercial whaling of fin whales and minke whales. Thus it joined Norway in defying the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Iceland has always caught some minke whales for “scientific research”. So the 2006 decision made little practical difference on minke – it simply represented Iceland becoming more open about its reasons for whaling. But it did represent a restart of fin whale hunting. Fin whales are an endangered species. Iceland maintains that there are enough fin whales in Icelandic waters for a small catch to be sustainable. This may or may not be correct, but is anyway not relevant to EU negotiations. EU law prevents the killing of any whales, even those which (like minke) are relatively numerous. EU law is based partly on the need to protect biological diversity, but partly also on the need to prevent animal suffering. Being killed by harpoons is a particularly painful, and often slow, way for an animal to die.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle believes accession talks with Iceland could be complete in 2013. At this time, it will be up to the Icelandic people to decide whether or not they want to join.
Sexual assaults in central Reykjavík have increased drastically over the past few years, reports Vísir. According to police statistics 22 sexual assaults were reported in 2010, 17 in 2011 and 36 in 2012, so an average of 25 cases a year. In 2013 however, a record 60 sexual assaults were reported in Reykjavík, roughly 140% more than the average between 2010 -2012. Guðrún Jónsdóttir, spokeswoman for Stígamót, the Education and Counseling Centre for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence says the numbers fit with the developments she’s seen at the centre in recent years. “The number of cases we saw increased
In the first 6 months of 2014, 402.000 tourists came through Keflavík airport, 90.000 more than in the same period last year. While this is good news, the Director General of the Icelandic Tourist Board, Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, told RÚV yesterday that it there were reasons for cautious optimism. “I think that there has been too rapid an increase in tourists,” said Ólöf Ýrr. “I don’t think we’ve been able to meet the demands of this increase. I think it would be better for us to avoid our future guests being put off from visiting us and in order to avoid that and
Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir may have tried to influence police investigations of her ministry, prompting the previous police commissioner to quit. The Constitutional and Supervisory Committee has asked the Minister to explain herself. DV reports that, according to their sources, former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson was on one occasion called into Hanna Birna’s office where she expressed displeasure with the course of police investigations of the Ministry of the Interior. On another occasion, Hanna Birna allegedly phoned Stefán, saying she was unhappy with police conduct in the investigations. Stefán reportedly discussed this with
An Indonesian woman living in Iceland had some candid words to share about the experience many Asian women endure when they move here. RÚV reports that Cynthia Trililani, originally from Indonesia, has been living in Iceland for the past ten years now. She has two university degrees, and is working on two master’s degrees while working in a playschool. Despite her background, Cynthia told attendees at SlutWalk last Saturday, herself and Asian women in general are subjected to some ugly stereotypes from some of the locals. Cynthia said that many Asian women are regarded as “uneducated sex toys” who are
A group calling for asylum seeker policy reform wants a Palestinian asylum seeker who was deported to be allowed to return to Iceland. RÚV reports that the group, Ekki fleiri brottvísanir (“No more deportations”), handed over a petition of support for Ramez Rassas to the Ministry of the Interior and the Directorate of Immigration. Rassas originally fled Gaza in 2009, and has been seeking asylum since then. After repeated failures for asylum in Norway, he came to Iceland last November. He was deported back to Norway last February, and then sent back to Gaza the following month. There, he currently
The numbers are in for the 8th annual seal census. In all 706 seals were spotted in a 100 km stretch of beach in northwest Iceland, reports RÚV. “We counted 706 this year which is similar to last year,” said biologist Sandra Granquist. “We counted 705-707 last year so [the numbers have] been pretty much the same in the last 3 years.” The census was conducted by employees of The Icelandic Seal Centre as well as a number of volunteers who arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning to help count. The census helps scientists keep track of how many seals are in the