Friday, July 5, 2013
Sanctuary in North Iceland Could End Whaling
By Jonny Zwick (@jonnyzwick) There are reasons for anti-whaling supporters to stay optimistic about the prospect of abolishing the archaic industry of whaling in Iceland. Despite the estimated 21 fin whales and 20 minke whales that have been slaughtered along the coast lines of the island nation this Summer, murmurs of a possible sanctuary in the North provide hope for those opposed. The primary reason that minke whalers have been pushed north this season is the implementation of a whale sanctuary in Faxafloi Bay. Faxafloi Bay lies right outside of the capital city, Reykjavik, and is famous for it’s fruitful whale and puffin watching. Although the invisible sanctuary line doesn’t run as far as whale-watching companies hoped that it would, it has restricted whalers in their deplorable practice. The significance goes beyond the recognition from Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries that whale watching may be more economically beneficial than whaling; it greatly depletes whalers already limited areas to hunt. I use the words, “already limited” because minke whales are mostly coastal/inshore marine mammals. Whalers can’t simply ignore the sanctuary by travelling further out to sea. Well, they could, but they wouldn’t find any whales to hunt. A sanctuary in the North, where whale watching is growing at an extreme rate, should surely put this controversial industry to bed. With a slowing consumer market and a shrinking hunting zone, I would recommend minke whalers start buffering their resumes if the line is put in place.