In case you missed it: comments on Bird Fair, Iceland, whales, wildlife tours

Sometimes there are comments on this blog which are so good that they deserve elevating to a post in their own right so that they get a wider audience.  In response to my recent short post on the Bird Fair (but also relevant to this post on Iceland, and to this one) there was the comment reproduced below from Linda which attracted some more comments from Nonnie Mouse and Ben Travers.  They are worth another read and may attract more comments too.

I’ve added the links to Linda’s comment.

Linda:

I read Mark’s blog avidly but this is the first time I’ve commented. I didn’t know much about the whale killing that’s been going on in Iceland since 2003 until the recent news about a possible blue whale being harpooned. The report coincided with holiday research my husband and I had been undertaking about travelling in Scotland next year. We thought it strange that several supposedly pro conservation wildlife travel companies were offering trips to Iceland. We asked some of them why and were fobbed off with responses including “we will continue to work from within”, comparing Iceland’s whale killing with illegal bird trapping in Cyprus (really) and an exchange with one operator ended with “I don’t need to justify or rationalise anything”. Some didn’t even bother to reply to our messages.

Over the course of a few days I learned the following:

Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2003 with the hunting of Minke Whales for the domestic market. It seems that some of this meat is destined for restaurants and consumed by tourists.

In 2009 Iceland allowed the resumption of Fin Whale (an endangered species) hunting. It seems that these products are destined for export, Japan being the major customer.

Whale hunting is supported by the Icelandic taxpayer through the state’s marine research organisation and alleged direct contributions to the whalers (though this is difficult to confirm). The country benefits from tax receipts on the sale of the whale products.

It seems that opinion polls in Iceland put pro and anti whaling at about 50/50 though some suggest it as high as 75/25 in favour of whaling. The most recent I found was 33% for whaling, 33% against whaling whilst the remaining 33% couldn’t be bothered to answer. I think it’s safe to say that there is NOT a clear majority for banning whaling within the country.

The cruelty involved in the killing is unimaginable and is reason alone to halt the activity without getting involved in the environmental and conservation implications. Apparently hunters fire exploding harpoons into the whale which are attached to the ship with ropes. The ship acts as a float holding the animal close to the surface as the whale tries to dive and escape. Icelandics don’t publish (or at least we couldn’t find it) the time taken between the harpoon striking the animal and death but from other sources it seems it is seldom under two minutes and 17 minutes or even longer is not uncommon. This is barbaric. It’s difficult to believe that the flesh is not contaminated as the harpoon strikes, rather like lead in grouse but orders of magnitude worse. We assume explosive residues and metal fragments from the harpoon enter the whale. We’ve no idea how this is screened before the whale meat is released for human consumption.

A couple of minutes with a well known search engine also turned up the following which takes you to an official EU web site and the text of something called a demarche (I didn’t know what it meant either — it’s a strongly worded criticism, apparently) which roundly condemns Iceland’s whale hunting and is signed by all EU countries, The United States, Australia, Brazil and others. It’s difficult to think of a more hard hitting official criticism. This was signed and presented to the Iceland government in 2014 but the whaling still continues.

Anyway, what’s all this got to do with a blog about the Bird Fair? Well we’ve had a look at the websites of the travel companies (aren’t there a lot!) at the event and, concentrating on the UK ones, determined if they offered trips to Iceland, or not. There’s a list of them below. A large majority do not travel to Iceland but there are still some that do. I think it’s fair to say that if you travel to Iceland with these companies you are directly contributing (through the taxes that you and the travel company pays in Iceland) to the hunting of whales. What we also found interesting during our research was that not one of the wildlife companies appears to offer trips to the Faroe Islands. Faroeese hunters kill Pilot Whales by driving them on shore and stabbing them to death. The killing grounds are horrific and there has been a lot of international condemnation. Unlike Iceland it doesn’t look as if they get any government support (can’t be sure about this) and no meat is sold. Instead, according to tradition, it’s distributed amongst the Faroes communities with the most needy getting the largest share. Clearly wildlife travel companies don’t want to be associated with this hunting in the faroes so why are some of them content to be associated with Iceland? I suppose the answer must be money. Expensive destinations such as Iceland presumably fill the coffers of the travel companies concerned.

IFAW, Greenpeace, FoE, Whale and Dolphin Society and a host of other conservation and animal welfare organisations roundly condemn whaling in Iceland but still it goes on. So is there anything that we, as readers of Mark’s blog, can do? Yes there is. If you’re going on a wildlife holiday do as we plan to do and book with an operator that doesn’t visit Iceland, and compliment them on their stance. If you’re at the Bird Fair then visit the companies that DO NOT visit Iceland and say how pleased you are that they don’t support this awful regime. Talk to the companies that DO visit Iceland and express your disappointment at what they choose to do. Some of these companies may well offer fancy statements about “sustainability” and “working from within” (a popular excuse and one which when pursued produced no meaningful examples) but don’t be fooled — I don’t think I’m being too cynical when I say they’re only there for the dosh. Also, wouldn’t it be great if the companies that do not visit Iceland could all co-sign a letter to the Iceland government stating they don’t visit the country and have no plans to do so whilst the bloody whaling continues. Who knows perhaps this will have an effect, it’s certainly worth a try. Maybe, some of the tour operators that currently visit Iceland can be persuaded not to do so as well.

What about it Mark, I know it’s not hen harriers or grouse but is this something you can coordinate?

UK Wildlife Tour Companies that DO NOT visit Iceland (Quick website check in July 2018)

Skua/Ornitholidays
Zoothera
Limosa
Oriole Birding
Wildlife Travel
Birdfinders
Bird Holidays
Honeyguide
Wise Birding
Wildfoot Travel
Birdwatching Breaks
2×2 Holidays
Wild Wings
Shetland Nature Holidays
Avian Adventures
Wild About Travel
Speyside Wildlife
Greenwings wildlife holidays
Ecotours Wildlife Holidays

UK Wildlife Tour Companies that visit Iceland (Quick website check in July 2018)
Greentours
Wildlife Worldwide/Travelling Naturalist
Naturetrek
Orcadian Wildlife
Sarus Bird Tours
Sunbird
Discover the World
Birdquest

 

Nonnie Mouse:

This isn’t my real name. I don’t want to get in trouble with my boss. Linda is right about wildlife travel companies being in it for the “dosh”. I work in the wildlife travel business and being an expensive country Iceland gives a high ppc (profit per client) in the jargon of the trade. Markup varies between 35% to over 50% of a tour’s costs so it’s easy to see that selling trips to expensive destinations like Iceland brings in more money than cheaper places. A week’s trip to Iceland is often advertised for around £3,000! The “working from within” excuse is often used and I’ve been instructed to respond to clients’ concerns about whaling by saying we are doing this. In reality it only means that we send our clients on whale watching trips. Good on the companies that don’t go to Iceland whilst the whale hunting continues!

 

Ben Travers:

Thanks Linda for a very clear explanation. I learned a lot. I wish I had known about this before I visited Iceland last month. It wasn’t the best of trips, if I’ve time I’ll summarise it here later. You left out Heatherlea wildlife from your list of companies that visit Iceland by the way. Just had a look at their website and they have lots of tours there, summer and winter.

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25 Replies to “In case you missed it: comments on Bird Fair, Iceland, whales, wildlife tours”

  1. Well, interesting views very clearly researched and presented. Wildlife tours tend to be consumer-led. I know that's fairly obvious but it's worth stating. If you offer a tour and nobody wants to go, then the tour gets dropped after maybe a couple of years. Tour companies are in business. They may support conservation but essentially they are there to make money. My point here is that targetting tour companies is tackling the wrong end. Convince people that Iceland is not a place to visit and then the tours will disappear. Another problem is where do you draw the line? Whales evoke very strong responses in people and various other animal groups do too. So where do you as an individual (and tour companies) draw the line on where and where not to visit? Are you considering emigrating from the UK because of the ongoing, persistent and unlawful killing of our birds of prey which government and the law appear unwilling to tackle? Are you considering emigrating because of the lawful killing of vast numbers of our native wildlife for spurious reasons? Think about all the crow family, Stoats, Weasels, Foxes, Mountain Hares etc.

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    1. "Are you considering emigrating from the UK because of the ongoing, persistent and unlawful killing of our birds of prey which government and the law appear unwilling to tackle?"

      It doesn't follow that in order to be consistent, people who refuse to visit Iceland on ethical grounds should emigrate from the UK because of their ethical objections to what goes on here. You do what you are able/willing to do in relation to the problems that concern you. It is one thing to withhold your custom from a tour company, quite another to emigrate from your country of residence! People concerned about raptor persecution in the UK (and there are clearly many such who read this blog) undertake all sorts of different things to try and prevent it and, arguably, much more than they do by not going on holiday to Iceland (which they may have had no intention of doing anyway). There is no inconsistency.

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  2. Linda's suggestion for the Birdfair sounds excellent to me. As far as I know, none of the conservation organisations has called for a holiday boycott of Iceland.

    A quick google search turns up a plethora of tour operators who claim to oppose whaling. However, most are remarkably conservative in their suggestions about how one could ethically oppose whaling; for them, it's only about holiday consumption i.e. ethical tourism simply means spending money on a whale watching trip and eating out in vegetarian restaurants instead of those selling whalemeat. One might almost think that they were mainly in the 'ethical travel' business in order to sell you another product on the basis of your objections 😉

    The WDC says that back in 2011, 'the Icelandic Whale Watch Association (IceWhale) and the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF), stated that the minke whales are more elusive and consequently, the whale watching boats have to travel farther in order to find the whales. The groups also protested the fact that on the 30th of April, 2011, the minke whaling vessel Hrafnreyður KO killed and processed a minke whale within the protected whale watch area in Faxafloi Bay, an area meant to be off-limits to the whalers.' Which, as Nonnie Mouse suggests, means there may be room for a tour operator to get properly active, rather than simply selling whale watching trips.

    Birdfair will surely be a great opportunity to push these tour operators to go further:

    - 'What lobbying has your company done to end whaling?'
    - 'What protests have you sent to the Iceland government about whaling?'
    - 'What letters/leafleting/demonstrations has your company organised or participated in?'
    - 'What examples can you give where your company has helped bring about a reduction in whale killing or whale meat consumption in Iceland?'

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  3. They eat horses don't they! And tourists eat burgers made of horse meat! And Puffins and rotting Sharks! They have a massive fish industry based on rich seas and no competition from other countries. So to stop whaling you need to show the reason why they have so many whales - it is called an ecosystem. Whale poo creates life and that starts the food chain. Remove the whale and things go down hill. So you might be making money from whales today but what about tomorrow.

    And who is buying this whale meat? The japs! So why not have a go at them? Having said that we have polluted our seas that much those eating this meat will not be on this planet for much longer! Some of our Killer Whales are so polluted that when they die they need to be buried so they don't kill any thing else. It is great being 'top of the food chain'!!

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    1. Just so you know, the word "Japs" is regarded as being as offensive as the N word. It was widely used in WWII alongside racist stereotype portrayals of Japanese people as rats, among other things. WWII ended a long time ago now.

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  4. Andy Mitchell misses the point when comparing the UNLAWFUL killing of birds of prey with the LEGAL killing of whales in Iceland. It’s worse than that. Not only is it legal but it gets tax support. If you choose to visit Iceland the tax you pay there supports whaling. Simple as that.

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  5. I'm sure somebody will correct me if I am wrong but what makes the whaling in Iceland even stranger is that it is one boat and one family that continue it. At least that was the implication on the BBC report of the killing of the possible Blue Whale. It all seems so wrong and pointless to be the only country in the North Atlantic to be continuing this barbarism against the objections of all the other countries just for a few export yen from Japan.

    On John's point about horse meat, if you have been to Scandinavia and eaten the processed meat called Hamburger there ( not an American style burger) you have eaten horse. Personally I don't have a problem with eating horse, indeed have done so there.

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      1. Not sure about Denmark but it is certainly true of Sweden, Norway and Finland. I've never understood the UK objection to human consumption of horse meat after all much of the continent eats or has eaten horse routinely.

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  6. This is a difficult ethical dilemma to come to a conclusion on. I'm opposed to whaling and have been since I was child in the 70's. I continue to work to stop whaling around the world by signing petitions, emailing and using social media. Most recently I emailed the Icelandic Embassy, PM and Government Depts over the Blue/Finn Whale. But I have been to Iceland 3 times, twice since whaling re-started. I don't feel comfortable about it either. While in Iceland I did go whale watching, which helps to show Icelanders that there's money to be made from live whales and because the areas where the whale watching boats travel are hunting free zones. I also didn't eat whale meat (easy for me as a veggie). Nor did I eat in restaurants that sell whale meat. Iceland is a very popular destination these days but most people don't go there for wildlife tourism so a boycott by wildlife tourists wouldn't have much of an impact other than to damage the whale watching industry. I'd like to see companies that do tours to Iceland formally condemn whaling and for them to have a policy to avoid restaurants/hotels that sell whale meat. They could also advise their clients why they take this stance.
    I think that Andy makes a valid point around boycotting countries for ethical reasons. If we were to do this there would be very few, maybe none, that we could visit including the UK.
    It's a personal choice. I wouldn't knock anyone who decided not to visit somewhere because of whaling or for any other reason including human related reasons such as countries that still allow the death penalty. People must do want they feel is right for themselves. Most of all I would say, "Get active and try to make a difference".

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  7. An excellent article. But the idea of not financially supporting the Icelandic government because of its support for whaling is precisely why I wouldn't go to Israel and financially support the government there (or indeed buy Israeli produce sold here) because of its policy of active support for illegal settlement and land theft in the occupied territories. https://markavery.info/2016/03/25/in-israel/

    You can’t boycott everything, no one is perfect, and we must all make our own choices. But sometimes I find the choices people do make quite interesting.

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  8. I have always felt the same way about Israel for the same reasons, as I felt about apartheid South Africa too. I will not visit Israel nor buy any produce from there.
    My reluctance to visit the USA is in part due to the fact that they still have the death penalty.

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  9. I visited Iceland recently with my family just as the whaling season was starting, though we didn’t know this at the time. It wasn’t the best of trips and here’s a few comments.

    I’m not sure that whale watching is the panacea for whalings ills to be quite honest. We took a trip from Husvik. Boat was packed and it was difficult to see the brief sightings of humpback whales. What disturbed me most and my wife and 14 yr old stepdaughter was the number of boats out seemingly chasing the animals. There was a constant stream of boats of all sizes from early morning to midnight from the harbour and our late morning sailing was one of many. When we were out in the bay there were sometimes 5 boats around one whale. We asked the guide about this and all she’d say was that the skipper always obeys the law. A disappointing (as well as expensive) trip and I can’t really say that we had the best interest of the animals at heart. People promoting whale watching need to be aware of the disturbance caused.

    The low point of our trip coincided with a drive around a lovely fiord in west iceland.We saw a black ship in harbour and as we drove past could clearly see a whale being butchered on the harbour. From its size it was probably a fin whale. As you can imagine this was very disturbing and in full view of the road.

    We had dinner in a Rekjavik restaurant (can’t remember the name) where whale was on the menu. We sat near a group of Americans who were being encouraged by their Icelandic guide to order whale for dinner. He said that not only was it delicious and good for you but that by eating it you were doing nature a favour as the minke whales were eating all the fish.

    We will not go back to Iceland and congratulate the travel companies that choose not to visit. I hope the others will follow suit

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  10. Maybe we eco-tourists need a top ten good and bad destination based on an index or indices of ethics.
    Personally speaking there are a number of countries I would happily visit but don't because I am not wanting to support & normalise their treatment of human beings and/or wildlife and environment. Trouble is, that's a long list that seems to be growing.
    Using same criteria, I am not comfortable visit uplands of England or Scotland and helping fund their tourism whilst blatantly turning a blind eye on local illegal persecution.

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    1. Not everyone in the English and Scottish uplands is involved in grouse shooting or implicated in the persecution of raptors so it is a bit unfair to collectively punish them all by staying away altogether. It is also important for policy makers and the communities living in these places to appreciate that actually many people visit specifically to enjoy the wildlife and are putting money into the local economy precisely because of the chance to see an eagle, a peregrine or a hen harrier. That's not the message they will get if bird-watchers decide to boycott the areas in which case they are more likely to see the grouse shooters as their meal ticket and not object if those birds of prey get quietly bumped off.

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  11. Discover the World’s position is clear: We find the hunting of whales abhorrent and strongly object to commercial whaling in Iceland. This activity is unacceptable to the majority of our clients, unnecessary and counterproductive to the modern image of Iceland. The revenue produced through the far more lucrative and sustainable whale watching industry far outweighs the revenue produced from commercial whaling and is now one of the top tourist attractions in the country generating millions of pounds for the local economy annually.

    Founded 35 years ago, Discover the World (as it is known today) was born out of a personal passion for Iceland. I was fortunate enough to spend a year and a half living there as a young man and wanted to share this incredible country with others. In 1973, I was working as a deck-hand on a fishing boat off the north coast when I first heard the song of an enormous humpback whale. It swam right under our tiny boat. I’ve never felt more humbled in my life and I’ve been hooked by the giant creatures ever since. It’s impossible not to be moved by the experience.

    In 1989, there were still no whale watching excursions in Iceland. Wanting to relive my experience from 1973, we chartered a trawler with zoologist Mark Carwardine. The locals laughed at us, but this was commercial whale watching in its infancy with little or no data about what whales we might to see. But see them we did. Lots of them. Today around 350,000 people go whale watching in Iceland every year and it remains a highlight for many of our clients.

    Discover the World has lobbied for many years for whaling to be stopped, regularly expressing our concerns to the Icelandic government, participating in petitions and supporting those organisations making a stand against it. We will continue to do so. Indeed, numerous businesses and individuals in Iceland are opposed to commercial whaling including ‘The Icelandic Travel Industry Association’ (SAF) and many of its key members such as Icelandair.

    We are also involved in growing and developing the whale watching industry locally. For example, we identified the potential for orca watching from the village of Grundarfjördur in west Iceland and organised the country’s first WhaleFests – a wonderful celebration of these enchanting creatures combining whale watching trips with lectures from world renowned cetacean experts such as Erich Hoyt.

    We feel, as do IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare), IceWhale and most of the environmental organisations trying to stop whaling in Iceland, that logical debate and discussion is the strongest influence for change. We encourage our clients to make their views known to locals in a polite and logical way. We do not ask visitors to boycott establishments which serve whale meat, however, we explain that this should no longer be regarded as an authentic Icelandic experience.

    We also make them aware of Iceland’s ‘whale friendly’ restaurants, which are identified by the IFAW Whale Friendly logo. This is only displayed by those eateries who promise not to sell whale meat.

    An app promoting whale friendly tourism in Iceland is available from IFAW. The free ‘Whappy’ app contains information about whale friendly restaurants, as well as whale watching operators, whale friendly souvenirs and an identification guide for whales and dolphins that can be seen in Icelandic waters. Visit www.ifaw.org/whappy for details.

    I am happy to continue this discussion at BirdFair, which I will be attending in person and look forward to meeting everyone there.

    Clive Stacey,
    Managing Director and Co-Founder,
    Discover the World

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  12. I sent this email to the wildlife companies still visiting Iceland.

    "I’m coordinating responses, with a view to publication, from UK wildlife travel companies who operate trips to Iceland.

    I’m sure you know about the recent resumption of Fin Whale hunting and the long time Minke Whale hunting that goes on in Iceland and would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to answer these questions:

    - What lobbying has your company done to end whaling?
    - What protests have you sent to the Iceland government about whaling?
    - What letters/leafleting/demonstrations has your company organised or participated in?
    - What examples can you give where your company has helped bring about a reduction in whale killing or whale meat consumption in Iceland?
    - How can you be sure that the hotels and restaurants you use in Iceland don’t serve whale meat?
    - Do you tell your customers in advance of their trips about how they are financially supporting whaling through the taxes they pay in Iceland?

    Please add anything else you think is relevant.

    Thank you

    Ben Travers"

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  13. This is a comment from the boss of company that has done more to introduce mass tourism to Iceland than anyone else. Of course they want the status quo to continue. Large sums of money are at risk and they’ll do all they can to encourage people to visit Iceland.

    Whale watching has grown incredibly and it’s reached the stage where it may well be causing more problems than it solves. In 1989 when it was just you on your trawler then I’m sure it was all great. Now with 350,000 visitors chasing after whales can you really be sure that you have the best interests of wildlife at heart?

    I’m sure it also can’t have escaped your attention that whale watching grew alongside commercial whale killing. No doubt the Iceland chancellor is rubbing his or her hands — this is surely a case of having your cake and eating it. You can substitute another word for cake if you like.

    Your 35 years of lobbying, petitioning and all the other fine words you used have resulted in absolutely nothing. Iceland slaughters whales and you’ve stood by and watched it happen.

    If you really want to do something then tell the Iceland government that you are no longer prepared to offer holidays in Iceland until they halt this dreadful practice. That would be a meaningful thing to do. You’ll lose money but at least you’ll be doing the right thing.

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  14. You said "logical debate and discussion is the strongest influence for change”

    That hasn’t worked very well so far has it? 35 years is a long time.

    Your position is meaningless if you don’t even ask visitors to boycott establishments serving whale meat.

    Whilst the whaling continues you and the people you have been working with are continuing to make a lot of money. The people you send to Iceland support whaling through the taxes they pay in the country. The only way it will change is if the economic incentive disappears. If you really want to stop whaling you’ll stop sending people to Iceland.

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  15. I’m perplexed why some of our well known naturalist leaders and guides support Icelandics whaling by leading trips to Iceland. My husband wrote to ************ who works for ************* asking for his comments. We’ve met [him] and he seems like a sensible guy. No response after a week, even with a follow up. If anyone knows the other leaders then why not drop them a line asking about how they as conservationists can justify leading wildlife trips to Iceland. [Note: edited by Mark to remove individual's name and the name of the particular company]

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  16. Don’t let Clive Stacey’s slick comment pull the wool over your eyes. he’s one of the fat cats of the travel industry. Linda certainly seems to have ruffled a few feathers! 

    If you’re at the Bird Fair ask Clive about the time he tried to get Icelandic suppliers to sign a statement that they wouldn’t support whaling or use whale products. Very commendable. Not so commendable was when a few days later following pressure from his Icelandic mates he publically and embarrassingly revoked the statement saying he was mistaken. In the papers at the time and widely known about in the travel industry.

    It seems there are two Icelandic agencies exhibiting at the Bird Fair. Does anyone know, or will the Bird Fair office make public, if they get any support from the iceland tourist board?

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  17. The only person who will celebrate if whale watching in Iceland is boycotted is Mr Kristjan Loftsson.
    In fact there has been a significant progress in order to end for good minke whaling in Iceland. Six minke whales have been hunted out of 269 the whalers have a quota for and not a single minke whale has been harpooned in the month of July. This has never happened before since whaling was resumed and whalers say the reason for them stopping is that whaling ban area is now much larger than before and 83% of their previous hunting area is now within the sanctuary and lost to whalers.
    We have also come a long way to generate political and public support in Iceland for ending fin whaling. That steady trend is seen in Gallup polls since 2004 and in a new poll since May this year. For the first time in 405 years whaling history we now have the chance to end once and for all commercial whaling in this country. It can realistically happen as early as next year. Prime minister and Environment minister want the whaling to come to an end. But that will not happen if people from other countries start boycotting the very tourism services that have played a key role in realizing this progress including members of SAF, The National Organization of Tourism Operators in Iceland. It would only strengthen those who say Iceland is being bullied by foreigners and that Iceland should exercise its right as a sovereign country to utilize its natural resources they way it decides. This rhetoric we know all too well. I have been campaigning against whaling with IFAW & Icewhale as an Icelander and within Iceland for over 15 years now. For six years we have been making lot of effort trying to encourage tourists to stop eating whale meat. Yes, tourists coming from Europe and USA, countries that oppose whaling but for curiosity reasons they order whale steaks in Iceland which locals don´t do. We have unfortunately 13 restaurants in Reykjavík still selling whale meat but over 80 restaurants are whale friendly, promise not to sell it, and many more don´t but prefer not to be listed. We have had to fight this campaign on many fronts but most importantly building bridges between different stakeholders and creating a platform for constructive dialogue about the best way forward for whales and for Iceland. We are now dealing with a lone billionaire who has a five year license to kill fin whales until this autumn when it expires. This is the last year of Loftsson´s whaling licence and we need your positive support to end this once and for all. But let´s be absolutely honest and clear about this. The decision to end commercial whaling in the three whaling countries will be made in Reykjavík, Oslo and Tokyo and for reasons that make sense to the people and politicians living and working in those countries and any attempts to boycott or bully whale friendly tourism in Iceland will surely be counter effective and possibly only make it more likely that a new 5 year licence to kill will be granted to Mr. Loftsson. Who wants that to happen?

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  18. I am somewhat perplexed by the latest comments regarding my actions and motives. I am quite accustomed to being questioned, but these have normally been those from the Icelandic and Norwegian whaling lobby, not fellow anti-whalers. For the record my company has done everything possible to avoid the impact of mass tourism in Iceland and you only need to look at our website to see that we don’t offer these sort of trips.

    I have been extremely outspoken about whaling in Iceland for many years, being interviewed regularly in the Icelandic and British media and on the BBC World service. Discover the World has worked closely with organisations such as IFAW and the WDCS in lobbying and creating awareness of the issues, not forgetting we were the ones who started Whale watching in Iceland! Actually I would like to think we had in some small way been successful in stopping whaling in Iceland until recently as it actually ceased for near two years, but for some reason which is at present unclear, the new government which is actually ideologically against whaling, issued permits for the new season. I will admit however that due to pressure of work and other issues I have not been especially active recently in challenging what has happened, but I am hoping that my thoughts will be published in the Icelandic media very soon and I will follow this up with further action. Finally, I will personally be at the Bird Fair on all three days and will be happy to discuss the issues in detail with anyone who wants to drop by.

    Clive Stacey
    Managing Director & Co-Founder
    Discover the World

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  19. Just because a tour operator doesn’t offer trips to Iceland, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re making a statement.

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