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Iceland To Stop Whale Hunting By 2024


As demand for whale meat declines, Iceland plans to eliminate whale hunting by 2024.


For the past three years, the nation’s whalers have barely ventured their boats out into the North Atlantic.


“There are few justifications to authorise the whale hunt beyond 2024”, Fisheries MinisterSvandís Svavarsdóttir, a member of the Left-Green party, wrote in Morgunbladid newspaper on Friday.

“There is little proof that there is any economic advantage to this activity,” she said.


Demand for Icelandic whale meat has decreased dramatically since Japan — Iceland’s primary market, especially for fin whale meat — returned to commercial whaling in 2019 after a three-decade hiatus.



The extension of a no-fishing coastal zone, which forced whalers to travel further offshore, increased the expense of Iceland’s hunt.



Iceland, Norway and Japan are the only countries that allow whale hunting, despite protests from animal rights advocates and environmentalists, concerns about toxins in the meat, and a declining market.


“Even if whaling is sustainable from a biological point of view, it might not be socially or economically sustainable, and that’s again outside our field,” – Gísli Vikingsson, a marine biologist and whale specialist.


Whales have recently become the stars of a thriving eco-tourism industry in Iceland.



Before the tourism industry took a toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 360,000 whale watchers travelled to the North Atlantic waters around Iceland in 2019 to observe the gorgeous creatures.