Reconciling Whale Watching And Whaling - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reconciling Whale Watching And Whaling

Published July 9, 2013

Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, wants to come to an agreement between whale watching companies and whalers, since the former is displeased with the recent reduction of the whale sanctuary area.
In his final days in office, former Minister of Industry and Innovation Steingrímur J. Sigfússon had increased the whale sanctuary area in Faxaflói Bay, but the motion was promptly overturned by the new Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, RÚV reports.
The Icelandic Travel Industry Association condemned the reduction of the whale sanctuary area in a letter yesterday, pointing out that whale watching is one of the largest draws for tourists in Reykjavík and the decision of the Ministry ignores the interests of the tourism industry but caters to a handful of fin whale hunters. Fin whalers have welcomed the decision of the Progressive Party MP Sigurður Ingi.
Ragnheiður Elín has said that she wants to find some middle ground between the two industries, saying that whale watching and whaling have grown alongside one another and that it’s a pity that the industries are butting up against one another.

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