A meeting of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF) came to the conclusion that whale hunting conducted near whale watching areas is having a negative impact on the tourist industry.
SAF recommended that the government create a larger no-hunting-zone between whale hunting areas and whale watching areas. It is believed that whales, being intelligent creatures, will give a very wide birth to areas where whales are killed. This results in some overlap into whale watching areas.
Whale hunters and whale watching groups have clashed many times in the past. Most recently, when Icelandic authorities created demarcations between whale watching and whale hunting areas, tourist groups complained that they weren’t given nearly as much territory as whale hunters were.
Whale watching is perhaps one of the most popular tourist activities in Iceland, if not the most popular. It generates millions in revenue each year, with very little overhead needed. By contrast, whale hunting is a subsidized industry supported by tax money.