From Iceland — Iceland's Fishing And Environmental Ministers Disagree Over Whaling

Iceland’s Fishing And Environmental Ministers Disagree Over Whaling

Published August 16, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Arne Feuher

Iceland’s Minister for the Environment, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson of the Left-Green Party, is not convinced that Iceland’s whaling policies are sustainable. This he said in response to a formal question posed to him by Reform Party MP Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, RÚV reports.

“The Minister also has doubts that the interests of Icelanders are being served [by whaling] as much as has been contended,” he added. In light of this, the Minister believes Iceland’s whaling policy needs to be reviewed, from an environmental, social and economic perspective.

The Left-Green Party, from which Guðmundur hails, takes a clear opposing stance against whaling in their party platform. When Guðmundur was asked last May if the party had changed its platform, he responded that he cannot simply write a new regulation stopping whale hunting, as that falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Fisheries.

That minister, Kristján Þór Júlíusson of the Independence Party, has gone on the record saying that he does not believe Iceland needs to review or change its whaling policy; that the country has every right to harvest whale stocks in a sustainable manner, which Kristján believes Iceland does.

Ultimately, the issue revolves around one man: Kristján Loftsson, the CEO of Hvalur hf., the only Icelandic company that still hunts endangered fin whales. His recent killing of a rare fin-blue hybrid attracted international attention, and it remains unclear if he will be allowed to continue his hunt through the season, let alone in the future.

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