Icelandic 2005 Bogus Scientific Hunt Comes to an End
REYKJAVIK - August 18 - As Iceland kills the last minke in this years bogus scientific hunts, bringing the total to 39, Greenpeace strengthens its vow to stop the Icelandic hunt and to push its pledge to increase whale watching and tourism on the island.
The Icelandic tourist association and whale watching operators have made it clear that whaling damages the reputation of the nation and has a negative impact on tourism. In recent years, tourism has become a major source of income in Iceland and whale watching alone attracts around 82,000 tourists annually and is worth more than $18 million USD a year, said Martin Norman from Greenpeace Nordic.
In 2003 Greenpeace launched a pledge asking people to consider a holiday in Iceland if whaling was stopped. Since then over 65,000 people have taken the pledge this potentially represents $76.8million USD in tourism value as opposed to $4million from commercial whaling at its peak. The offer presented by Greenpeace to the Icelandic government clearly shows the economic and environmental benefit of choosing sustainable tourism over whaling.
Over 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die each year due to a multitude of threats, such as global warming, ozone depletion, toxic chemicals, noise pollution, overfishing and ship strikes. That is the death of one of these animals every two minutes - the last thing we should be doing adding to these threats by hunting whales, added Norman.
Icelands storage freezers are full with up to 40 tonnes of unsold whale meat and blubber from the 2003 and 2004 hunts. Only a quarter of last years catch was sold, yet Iceland persisted in taking this years "scientific" quota of 39 minke whales.
Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.