WWF condemns Iceland’s announcement to resume whaling



Posted on 07 August 2003  | 
Gland, Switzerland – WWF condemns Iceland's announcement to resume whaling this month, with plans to hunt 38 minke whales as part of a so-called scientific research programme. WWF considers Iceland’s decision to resume whaling, after a hiatus since 1989, to be in defiance of the international community. This undermines the International Whaling Commission (IWC), as well as international efforts to provide solutions and reach consensus on this controversial issue. This is not the first time that Iceland has carried out a 'scientific' whaling operation despite international protest. After the commercial whaling moratorium came into effect in 1986, Iceland accepted the moratorium but carried out four years of ‘scientific’ whaling, from 1986 to 1989, catching up to 80 fin and up to 40 sei whales each year. WWF believes it is clear these programmes are an excuse to expand whaling. "This planned hunt lacks scientific necessity or legitimacy," said Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF's international Species Programme. “WWF urges the Icelandic government to reconsider and withdraw its decision to go whaling. Iceland is a very important ecotourism destination for whale watching, an activity which generates far more revenue for the people of Iceland than killing whales.” Scientists with the IWC recently noted the deficiencies in Iceland's proposal and stated that there is no need to kill whales to gather the scientific data for managing whales, which Iceland claims it is seeking. Using modern scientific practices and methodologies, such information can be gathered through harmless biopsies, but that kind of science provides no meat for Icelandic whalers to sell to consumers. “WWF urges the Icelandic government to repeal its decision and move forward into the 21st century,” added Dr Lieberman. For further information: Matthew Davis WWF International Species Programme Tel.: +44 7768 867272 E-mail: mdavis@wwf.org.uk Mitzi Borromeo WWF International Tel.: +41 22 364 9562 E-mail: MBorromeo@wwfint.org Notes to Editors: Iceland left the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1992 and rejoined in October 2002, following much controversy and a vote that they won by a margin of one. At the time, they stated that after 2006 they would not be bound by the IWC's long-term moratorium on all commercial whaling. Iceland sent a proposal for a 'scientific whaling' programme to the IWC, and the IWC adopted a resolution condemning Iceland’s proposed whaling programme. Many governments urged Iceland at the IWC meeting in Berlin in June of this year not to go whaling.

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