On October 17 th Iceland announced its resumption of commercial whaling. They claim whales are a threat to fishstocks and must be culled. There is no scientific credibility to this argument. Human over-fishing is to blame for dwindling stocks and catches, and this in turn is a threat to whales and the entire ocean ecosystem.
Campaign Whale is leading a coalition of anti-whaling groups calling on fish retailers in the UK, EU and USA, to review their fish purchases of Icelandic seafood. The Icelandic Prime Minister has recently hinted that whaling could stop for ''economic'' and other reasons. With Icelandic elections due early in May it is vital that we keep up the pressure and demonstrate to Iceland that whales are worth far more alive than dead, and that whaling is bad for business.
The suffering of the whales:
Modern whale killing methods are horribly cruel. The harpooners have to aim at a partly submerged, moving target, from a moving platform, on a moving sea, at distance, and often in difficult sea and weather conditions. The probability of successfully achieving an instantaneous kill under such circumstances, even with an experienced harpooner, is low. Iceland has been hunting and killing whales for ‘scientific research’ purposes since 1986 and has yet to provide any welfare data to the IWC on killing methods and Times To Death (TTDs).
The Norwegians claim that 80% of minke whales die instantaneously, while Japan’s whalers in the Antarctic claim a mere 40% of whales do. However, there is no independent verification of these TTDs, and no reliable criteria for telling when a whale is actually dead. This means some whales could still be conscious when they are butchered. What we do know is that many hundreds of whales are suffering the most appalling agonies, for anything up to and over an hour, before death.
With the Icelanders killing fin whales with the same harpoons designed to kill the smaller minke whales, there is no doubt that this must inflict the most appalling suffering on these whales.
World Response to Iceland’s Resumption of Commercial Whaling :
An unprecedented twenty-five nations, led by the United Kingdom, including the European Commission, delivered a signed protest to Iceland on November 1 st. The demarche expressed their collective opposition to whaling and urged the Icelandic Government,
“to reconsider its position and reverse this unnecessary decision, and to abandon its current operations.”
Unfortunately political protests will not stop the whalers.
Watch whales, don’t kill them:
Iceland has a booming tourism industry and whale-watching is extremely popular. The revenue from whale-watching greatly exceeds any income from whaling. Operators have already expressed alarm at the cancellation of holidays as a direct result of whaling.
The price of fish: Last month, Scottish fishermen demanded a mass cull of Scottish seals. In Canada hundreds of thousands of baby seals are clubbed to death, blamed for the collapse in cod stocks. Iceland Norway and Japan claim whales eat too many fish and must be culled. The one thing that all these countries have in common is their demands that marine mammals must be culled for the ‘crime’ of eating fish.
But, there is no credible scientific evidence to support such claims given that the marine food chain is complex, and any reduction in one predator will simply lead to an increase in another. If we are to restore the natural balance in the oceans we need to curb over-fishing and other destructive practices, not marine mammals.
Campaign Whale would like you to pledge to boycott all fish products from whalers but that is not realistic so we are focusing on Iceland first. Listed below are contact details for all the UK’s leading fish retailers.
Please contact them and let them know you do not want to buy fish from Iceland until whaling is stopped. They will tell you that their suppliers don''t kill whales, that their customers must have a choice of fish products and that Icelandic fishing is sutainably managed.
Don't wait for their excuses not to act. Tell them you don''t want to buy fish or prawns from Iceland and neither should they. Once whaling stops you will be pleased to buy whaling-free fish products from Iceland but not from Norway and the Faroes that also kill whales.
Those contact details are:Cooperative Retail
Marks & Spencer
Somerfield Stores Ltd.
Netto Foodstores Ltd.
Budgens Stores Ltd.
Please also write to Fisheries Commissioner Jo Borg calling on the EU to take action against fish imports from countries killing whales:
Mr Joe Borg
Please also write to the EU Environment Commissioner and call for the creation of an EU Whale Sanctuary and a Regulation banning commercial whaling, the killing of whales for so-called fisheries management or for ‘research’:Mr Stavros Dimas