Greenpeace has some excellent news to report. This year Iceland has decided it will not hunt the endangered blue fin whale. According to Greenpeace workers and news reports in the English language media, this summer, the country will not engage in hunting fin whales. The reason being cited is that it is not economically viable to export the whale meat which is fantastic news for both the species and everyone who opposed the senseless hunt.
Fin whales are earth’s second largest animal and can grow up to 27 metres in length. To put that in context that is about two and a half double-decker buses. The species can be found all over the world and are often called the greyhounds of the sea because they have a sleek and streamlined form which makes them swimming machines. The species is listed as being endangered because fin whales were the first targets of industrial whaling during the 20th century with their populations nearly being wiped out.
Iceland used to ignore public opinion
Over the last few years Iceland has ignored global public opinion and allowed one man, Kristian Loftsson to begin the hunt for the blue fin whale hunt again. It is simply indefensible to hunt a species which is internationally endangered. The hunt makes no sense for Iceland either in environmental terms or social or economic terms. In Iceland there is no market for fin whale meat. The blubber is typically discarded as being not unfit for human consumption. Selling the meat to Japan does not make any sense either because they have been hoarding unwanted whale meat and are worried about toxic pollution.
No economic reason
Greenpeace activists and other supporters from all over the world have played an important role in ensuring the blockade of illicit shipments have received a high profile. Activists have been instrumental in blocking ports in the Netherlands, Germany and mobilising supporters to call for an end to the whale meat trade through South Africa. There is no economic reason for hunting the blue fin whale and the species is supposed to be protected internationally. It has also been shown that whales and other marine life living in the North Sea contain toxins and people have been advised against eating blubber.
Commercial whaling must end today
Over the last few decades tourism has started to play a much more important role in Iceland’s economy than whaling could ever be. In fact one of the greatest success stories is the phenomenal rise of whale watching. Iceland is now a tourist destination that people visit for its scenery and wildlife. The tourism industry is in conflict with the idea of whale hunting and the practice should be banned altogether. There is simply no place for commercial whaling today. The remaining species of whales, porpoises and dolphins face several threats from humans that we are not facing up too. These include pollution, climate change and industrial fishing. This means the least we can do is end commercial whaling for good so we can deal with the other stuff.