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.
In terms of the weather alone, most Icelanders have been unhappy with this past summer, with one notable exception. According to a new poll from Market and Media Research, only 45.4% of Icelanders nationwide have been satisfied with the weather this past summer. This is up slightly from 44.9% for the summer of 2013, but way down from 96.3% for the summer of 2012. The trend can be attributed to what have been relatively cool, cloudy and rainy summer both this year and last, while the summer of 2012 was decidedly warmer and sunnier. Regionally, not all Icelanders were of
Two women were first harassed and then assaulted in downtown Reykjavík in the early hours of Saturday 30th August. A man started accosting them in Hverfisgata, outside Bar 11, at about 4.45am, in both Icelandic and English. When his drunken advances failed, he started following and aggressively coming on to the two, resulting in him being slapped. He then attacked both women, hospitalizing one with facial cuts and two black eyes. One of the women was artist Rosalie Smith, who was on her last night in Iceland and has now returned to the United States. She has sent out a
Lava exuding from the Holuhraun eruption stretches 3.5 kilometres from the centre of the fissure and measures approximately 1.6 kilometres at its widest point, reports Vísir. According to the Icelandic Met Office the Holuhraun fissure is 1.5 km long with continuous eruption taking place in a 600-800 m long central section. The area of the lava is roughly 4 square kilometres. Currently, none of the tributaries of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum touches the lava edge. A white blueish cloud has been rising from the eruption but its white colour does not suggest that it is an ash cloud. The
The District Commissioner of Húsavík has decided to reopen the road to Dettifoss waterfall on the west side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum as of 08:00 am today, reports the Civil Protection Department. Other roads and hiking trails on the west side of Jökulsá are still closed. The decision has been made, not because the flood risk has gone down – it hasn’t – but because of increased surveillance in the area. As the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun is being intensely monitored and park rangers and additional law enforcement are present in the area it was deemed safe enough to reopen
The managing director of one of Iceland’s largest trade unions says they are “extremely worried” about workers in the tourism industry. “We are extremely worried about [workers within] this field,” Drífa Snædal, the Managing Director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), told Vísir. “If Iceland intends to build up the tourism industry, it will have to really clean house.” Drífa says that unions around the country have had to deal with reports of employees filing grievances, mostly about being paid unfairly. “There are two types of groups within the tourism industry,” she said. “Those who
The beleagured Faroese fishing vessel that ordinary Icelanders assisted despite the cold shoulder from government has bid our fair shores farewell. MBL reports that Næraberg departed from Reykjavík harbour at about 6:00 this morning. At the time of this writing, the ship is about halfway to Greenland, presumably to resume fishing mackerel. As reported, the ship was sailing from Greenland when it encountered engine trouble and radioed Iceland for permission to dock in Reykjavík harbour to conduct repairs. However, citing an obscure law about fishing rights, Icelandic authorities initially only allowed permission for the ship to dock – the crew