Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson believes Iceland should have been invited to the international ocean sustainability conference Our Ocean, and is not especially worried about US threats against the Iceland over whale hunting.
“I find it odd and even inappropriate that one of the largest fishing nations in the North Atlantic was not invited to the conference,” Sigurður told listeners on radio station Rás 2 this morning, saying that Iceland has in the past been honoured for their sustainable fishing practices.
When asked if he was particularly worried about further pressure from Washington to end whaling, Sigurður was not too concerned.
“No, I’m not worried about people who don’t want to listen to our side of the story,” he said. “Our image is unblemished when it comes to sustainable use, and we are using the products of whaling in a sustainable matter.”
As reported, whale hunting season has begun in Iceland, and the ministry has alloted a quota of 154 fin whales amongst those to be hunted – a species that the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals has categorised as in danger of extinction.
The non-invitation to Our Ocean may be just the beginning of actions the US takes against Iceland regarding whale hunting.
“I believe that continuing focus on Icelandic whaling activities is needed to encourage Iceland to halt commercial whaling and support international conservation efforts,” US President Barack Obama said last April. “Just as the United States made the transition from a commercial whaling nation to a whale watching nation, we must enhance our engagement with Iceland to facilitate this change.”