IceWhale, the whale watchers’ association of Iceland, strongly criticizes the fact that minke whale hunting has now begun again in Faxaflói bay, one of the most important whale watching areas in the country.
The organization of whale watching companies is against continued whaling in Iceland and says it is very worrying that the latest Marine Research Institute of Iceland count seems to show a decline in whale numbers.
A statement from the organization says that the hunting has begun despite a cross-political call from the Reykjavík City Council to increase the size of the Faxaflói whale reserve.
“118,000 passengers went whale watching from Reykjavík last year and it is thought each passenger spent an average of ISK 8,000 (EUR 54/USD 60) on their ticket, which means ISK 944 million (EUR 6.4 million/USD 7.1 million) from ticket sales alone.” Whale watching is therefore more economically significant and sustainable than whaling, they argue.
In a parliamentary answer from the fisheries minister to a question from the Left Green Party leader, it was revealed that each minke whale landed earns the whalers about ISK 1 million (EUR 6,700/USD 7,550), Vísir reports.
By comparison, IceWhale says, ticket sales for just one whale watching trip with 125 passengers generates the same amount of income.
125 passengers is normal for any whale watching trip in Reykjavík over the summer, and there are many such trips made every day. “It is obvious that a hunted whale will never be hunted, or seen, again.”