REYKJAVIK - August 18 - As Iceland kills the last minke in
this year’s 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.
Iceland’s 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 year’s
"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.