Environment minister doubts whaling is sustainable

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, minister for the environment and natural resources, is not convinced of the sustainability of whaling in Icelandic waters. He voiced this opinion in response to a question from MP Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, today, as to whether Iceland’s whaling policy should be reassessed.

“Iceland’s whaling policy has been based on maintaining the right to utilize the whale population around the country in a sustainable way, like other living resources of the ocean. The minister for the environment and natural resources is not convinced that said hunting in our waters is sustainable,” Guðmundur replied. “Moreover, the minister has doubts that Icelanders’ interests resulting from the utilization of whales are as great as people sometimes maintain,” he added.

The current regulatory provision regarding permission to hunt large whales expires at the end of the year. Guðmundur noted that according to information from the Ministry of Industry and Innovation, no work is yet in progress regarding changes to that provision.

When asked by Þorgerður Katrín whether the whaling station in Hvalfjörður fjord was a source of pollution, Guðmundur replied:

“If whaling continues, along with this operation, the minister believes there is reason for further research regarding pollution in Hvalfjörður, which could, among other things, result from the cutting and processing of finback whale at the whaling station.”

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