Support whale watching in Iceland and help end whaling

More and more Icelanders are speaking up for whales and speaking out against whaling — they need your support!

Whaling in Iceland makes no sense. Whale watching is worth ten times more to Iceland's economy.

Last year, whalers in Iceland killed 137 endangered fin whales and 24 minke whales, despite the fact that only 1.7% of Icelanders regularly eat whale meat. Most of the fin whale meat is shipped to Japan and the minke whale meat is eaten mainly by tourists.

More than 20 species of whales and dolphins make their homes around Iceland and a third of visitors take a whale watch trip. Yet whaling boats share the same waters and whale watch passengers have been forced to witness the brutal hunts. Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir is director general of the Icelandic Tourist Board, part of Iceland's Ministry of Industries and Innovation. The Ministry oversees whaling, so Ólöf is in a position to influence both tourism and whaling.

Sign our petition — ask Ólöf to make a strong case to Ministers for whaling quotas to be cancelled, as whaling not only threatens the whales but also Iceland's tourism industry and reputation.

Whale photo by Tim Stenton.
Dear Ólöf,

We are writing to show our support for the many Icelanders who believe, as we do, that whales are important for many reasons and deserve our respect and protection. Icelanders are fortunate that more than 20 species of whale and dolphin choose to make their home in the waters around their beautiful country. Indeed, they are one of the main attractions for visitors and the whale watching on offer is amongst the best in the world. In 2013, 34% of the 808,000 visitors to Iceland took a whale watch trip (1) and two-thirds of respondents to an independent survey (2) in the UK and Germany last July said that they would be likely to take a whale watch trip if they travelled to Iceland. Since tourists from the UK, Germany and USA visit Iceland more than any other nationality, it is important to note the strong support for Icelandic whale watching coming from these key visitor sectors.

Whaling, on the other hand, is not only bad in conservation and welfare terms but in practical terms too, as each whale harpooned means one fewer to be experienced by watchers. Revenues from whale watching are approximately 10x those of whaling, yet whaling boats are permitted to share the same waters and whale watch passengers have been forced to witness dead whales being transported to the whaling station. The same survey (2) revealed that close to 90% of respondents said they would be unlikely to take a whale watch trip if there was a possibility of seeing dead whales transported back to shore.

We request you to present this petition, please, to the relevant ministers, namely Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, and Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, and make the strongest possible case for the whaling quotas to be cancelled as the ongoing fin and minke whaling threatens both Iceland’s whales and its dynamic whale watch tourism industry and tarnishes Iceland's reputation overseas.

[Your comments here]

Please support those who wish to see Iceland made famous as a Whale Nation, not a whaling nation.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]

1 http://www.ferdamalastofa.is/static/files/ferdamalastofa/Frettamyndir/2014/mai/enski.pdf

2 http://uk.whales.org/sites/default/files/2014-whaling-survey-uk-germany.pdf
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