Outgoing Minister of Industry and Innovation, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, signed a new regulation yesterday which significantly reduced the area where whaling vessels are permitted to hunt in Faxaflói bay, mbl reports.
The former curved boundary line that went from Garðaskagaviti lighthouse on the Reykjanes peninsula to the town of Akranes was straightened and extended to Skógarnes on the Snæfellnes peninsula. The new boundary took effect at midnight last night.
The decision was welcomed by the Icelandic Tourist Industry Association, particularly the whale watching companies which operate in Faxaflói bay, although they would like to see the ban set over the entire Faxaflói bay as well as include all areas within 30 nautical miles of where whale watching companies operate. The current boundary in Skjálfandaflói bay in the north was not affected by the new regulation.
On the other hand, whaling companies were not happy about the new regulation. Gunnar B. Jónsson, spokesperson for minke whalers told RÚV that the ban closed off 80% of Faxaflói bay and considerably disrupted summer whaling plans.