Candidates Feel The Heat on Whaling - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Candidates Feel The Heat on Whaling

Published May 21, 2014

Photos by
Julia Staples

Candidates running for mayor of Reykjavík from every political party received a loud and clear message from attendees at a meeting held at Harpa yesterday.

Vísir reports that the meeting centred around whale watching and the future of tourism in Iceland. Grímur Sæmundsen, the director of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, pointed out that with the number of tourists increasing, so do the number of tourists going whale watching. It is estimated that 200,000 tourists poured 4 billion ISK into the Icelandic economy just through whale watching alone.

For this reason, Grímur and others asked the mayoral candidates present if they would increase the size of the no-whaling area in Faxaflói Bay, where whale hunting is also conducted. Furthermore, the candidates were even asked if they would ban the docking of whaling ships in Reykjavík harbour.

Amazingly, the candidates of all political parties agreed these were good ideas. However, they pointed out, these are ultimately not their decisions to make – only Minister of Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has that power.

As reported, whale hunting season has begun again, and a number of whaling boats are docked in Reykjavík harbour. At the same time, the percentage of Icelanders against hunting fin whales has been on the rise.

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