International Fund for Animal Welfare

International Fund for Animal Welfare

October 19, 2006 07:00 ET

Iceland to hunt whales despite moratorium and international outcry

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, World News Editor REYKJAVIK, ICELAND--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 19, 2006) - The government of Iceland has announced yesterday that it will commercially hunt whales for the first time in more than two decades, contravening a moratorium established in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The announcement has drawn sharp criticism from the global community and experts with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - who are calling on Iceland to reconsider its decision.

The announcement was made by Iceland's Ministry of Fisheries, which said permits had been granted for the commercial hunting of 30 minke whales and nine endangered fin whales. While Iceland has not officially hunted whales commercially over the last two decades, it has hunted whales for what it calls "scientific" purposes that are allowable through an IWC loophole - though the meat from the whales is sold commercially within Iceland - generating outcry from both the global conservation and scientific communities.

Recent Gallup polling commissioned by IFAW confirmed how unnecessary commercial whaling is to Iceland, revealing that only 1.1% of Icelanders eat whale meat once a week or more, while 82.4% of 16 to 24-year-olds never eat whale meat.

IFAW Canada Country Director, Olivier Bonnet said, "Commercial whaling is an out-dated and unnecessary industry that should have ended a century ago with the use of whale oil lamps. The government of Iceland should be supporting its nation's thriving and growing whale watching industry rather than sinking money and its political reputation into promoting the hunting of whales."

Whale watching is the fastest growing industry in the world. In Canada over 1 million people participate in whale watching tours every year, generating more than 50 million dollars for more than 100 tour operators. Whale watching also generates additional tourism and related industries.
/For further information: Contact:
Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell (IFAW) – U.S. Tel: 1 (508) 737-1584, E-mail:
Michele Duff (IFAW) – U.S. Tel: 1 (508) 744-2235, E-mail:

Editors: Still images of Icelandic whaling available.

Contact Information

  • Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell, Communications, International Fund for Animal Welfare
    Primary Phone: 508-737-1584