Whale hunting has begun in Iceland again, but Icelandic whale watching companies are less than pleased.
MBL reports that the first minke whale of the year has already been hunted, and an additional 49 are included in the quota, in the Faxaflói Bay around Reykjavík. Moreover, 154 fin whales – listed as endangered by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals – will also be hunted this year, starting in June.
Not everyone is happy about the news, including the owners of Icelandic whale watching companies. Vísir reports that many of these companies believe the “no hunting area” around Reykjavík needs to be enlarged.
Rannveig Grétarsdóttir, the managing director of the whale watching company Elding, told reporters that this summer is predicted to be “one of the biggest summers for tourism in Iceland”, and that whale hunting conducted in the same bay as whale watching has not only had a negative impact on tourists; it has also taught minke whales to avoid boats and ships in general.
Rannveig brought up this same point to the Grapevine last year, saying that a tourist’s chances of seeing a whale in Faxaflói Bay are steadily declining. “In North Iceland, there were minke whales all over,” she added. “Now they hardly see any minke at all in Húsavík [North Iceland, where minke whale hunting is also conducted]. If this continues, our business will continue to suffer.”
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