Numerous whale watching groups are baffled by the resumption of whale hunting in Faxaflói Bay, one of the largest whale watching spots in the country.
Kjarninn reports that Icewhale (Hvalaskoðunarsamtök Íslands), an organisation of whale watching companies, has released a statement to the press objecting to the hunting of minke whales just outside the area of Faxaflói Bay demarcated for whale watching.
Icewhale points out that, according to data the Ministry of Fishing and Agriculture gave parliament, whale hunting companies make about 1 million ISK per each hunted whale. By contrast, this is about the same amount of money generated by just one whale watching trip with 125 guests. Given the number of trips made per day during whale watching season, and the dramatic increase in tourism, Icewhale says, the economic benefits of whale watching over whale hunting are even more apparent.
They also point out that, according to a study from the Marine Research Institute, the number of minke whales in the whale watching zone of Faxaflói Bay has greatly declined, with whale hunting named as one of the primary factor in this decrease. Furthermore, promises made by the institute to measure the length of time it takes a whale to die once harpooned have still not been kept.
“We believe that the only rational, sustainable and justifiable utilisation of whales in Iceland is whale watching,” Icewhale says.