Where: Reykjavik, Iceland
February 16, 2009 : In a letter signed by senior diplomats in Reykjavik, the governments of six countries appealed to Iceland to rethink its decision to permit the hunting of 150 fin and 100 minke whales in a year. The countries are the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Finland and Sweden. The former Iceland government took the decision before stepping down in the face of the country’s economic collapse. The letter expressed “extreme disappointment” and asked the new government to consider the long-term interests of the whaling industry.
After the end of a 20-year ban, commercial whaling began again in Iceland in spite of protests by environmentalists. There has been an international suspension on whaling since 1986. Whalers have now placed advertisements in the island’s newspapers saying whale hunts could help the economy by creating jobs to export whale meat to Japan. However, a representative of the environmental group Greenpeace said, ‘Whaling belongs to the past. There’s no real market for the meat in Japan. This won’t create jobs.’
The new government has said in response to the appeal that it will review the decision to resume whaling.