European nation to quit whaling

The minister for fisheries said there is very little justification for continued whale hunting beyond 2024

Iceland plans to end all whaling from 2024, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Svandis Svavarsdottir said in a column in the Morgunbladid newspaper on Friday.

“There are few justifications to authorize the whale hunt beyond 2024,” the minister said, adding that, as things stand, it is highly likely that the practice will be banned when the current quotas end. 

Whaling, which was re-authorized for commercial purposes in 2006, is becoming less economically justifiable, with only one whale killed in the past three years. 

“There can be several reasons for this, but perhaps the simple explanation is that there have been sustained losses from this type of fishing,” she said. 

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Demand for whale meat from Iceland has dropped massively since Japan re-authorized whaling in 2019 after it withdrew from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). 

Whalers in Iceland have also been required to go further afield to hunt the creatures after a no-fishing coastal zone was extended. 

Social distancing due to the coronavirus has also rendered Iceland’s whale meat processing plants inoperable. 

Amid widespread condemnation of the industry, Iceland is one of the few nations, along with Norway and Japan, that still allows commercial whale hunts. 

2018 was the last full whaling season, with 146 fin whales and six minke whales killed.

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