The Vegan Conservatives have written to Lord Goldsmith, about the resumption of whale hunting in Iceland this summer. The International Whaling Commission is one of Zac's responsibilities in his role as Minister of State (Minister for the Pacific and the International Environment) at DEFRA. The text of the letter is as follows:-
It is with great dismay that we read that commercial whale hunting has resumed in Iceland after a four-year hiatus, following the issue of a licence by the Icelandic Government to the Hvalur whaling company in Reykjavik.
The licence paves the way for a catch quota of 161 fin whales and 217 minke whales. It may be that the populations of both species have been increasing in the North Atlantic over the last 35 years, but fin whales are still considered to be ‘vulnerable’ according to the CITES Appendix.
The practice of commercial whaling is abhorrent to most people and in addition to the well-documented suffering endured by whales chased-down and killed, the practice has a devastating effect on regional cetacean populations and their societal structures.
Further, we believe that resuming whaling in Iceland has the potential to harm the country’s tourism industry, at a time when all nations are attempting to capitalise on a post-Covid bounce in international leisure travel. In 2017, tourism accounted for 42% of Iceland’s exports and whale watching alone was worth 3.2 bn króna ($26.5 m). By comparison, in the same year, Hvalur’s revenue from whaling activities reached 1.7 bn króna ($14.1 m) and employed just 150 Icelanders.
Much as you wrote to the Faroese Government in relation to the Grind recently, we wonder if you could please pen a note to the Icelandic Government to remind them of the global moratorium on whale hunting and to ask that they suspend the licence with immediate effect instead of scheduling a review for next year.