This week Iceland has announced its decision about reopening the commercial whale industry. Local ministry of fishing economy declared that in the 2006-2007 it is going to allow the hunting of 30 minke and 9 finback whales.
Reykjavík believes that such number should not hurt the population of sea mammals and is therefore ecologically safe. In order to appease the public the ministry cited authoritative sources which provided statistical data on the animals: currently North Atlantic has 70 thousand minke whales and 25.8 thousand finback ones.
However, the opponents of whale hunting are worried that the Icelandic move could negatively affect the situation with the nature preservation field. Whale hunters could really begin to enjoy their business and demand higher quotas, which would inevitably bring the sea giants to the brink of extinction again.
Ecologists were joined by the British authorities, who are also convinced that reopening the hunting season is a bad idea. The ambassador of Iceland in London was called to the Foreign Office for explanations, but it seems like Reykjavík has no intention to give up its ambitions.
Successful rescue of the whales from complete extermination is considered to be one of the very few serious achievements of the global society of environment protection. Over a century ago whale hunters used to kill thousands of animals each year, which led to sharp decrease in the whale population, the whale industry suffered losses and the environmentalists raised the alarm.
As a result this business was banned world-wide in 1986, and Iceland was one of the nations who signed the agreement. The only exception was allowed for the so-called “killing for scientific purposes.”
It is assumed that in this case the point is not to kill the animal and sell meat, fat, bone and fin but in order to study the creature. However, it is legitimate to see whatever is left after the “studying” process (and quite a lot is left, since the researchers cannot possibly eat the entire whale by themselves).
Official reports show that for the sake of biological studies several dozens of whales are being killed each year, which incidentally permits the whale industry to maintain its steady sales.
Greenpeace has been criticizing such excuses for a long time, but oftentimes governments are forced to provide the whale hunters with jobs. Up until this week the only country breaking the established international limits was Norway , which the rest of the society was willing to bear up with.
But now that Iceland has joined the ranks of rebels nothing prevents Tokyo from re-opening their all-time favorite industry. Before long the entire system of whale protection will fly out the window, as the environmentalists rightly fear it could.
Translated by Natalia Vysotskaya
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