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Iceland's whale-hunting increase sparks outcry among conservationists

January 29, 2009 |  1:56 pm

Paul Watson

You knew there'd be strong reaction from Capt. Paul Watson to Iceland's announcement this week that it will substantially increase the number of whales it kills each year.

Here's what Watson, the controversial founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, had to say:

"Iceland has spat in the face of marine conservationists around the world with their extremist announcement that they wish to slaughter 150 endangered fin whales and 100 minke whales this year."

Iceland's outgoing government has set those quotas annually through 2013. Said Arni Finnsson of the Iceland Nature Conservation Assn., to the BBC: "This is basically an act of sabotage, an act of bitterness, against the incoming government."

Watson is calling the increased hunting effort illegal and implores marine mammal enthusiasts around the world to boycott "all things Icelandic."

"We're going to say to people around the world to not buy Icelandic vodka, sweaters, and fish, to not go as tourists to Iceland and to not use Iceland as a refueling station for private jets," Watson said.

Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel, Steve Irwin, is currently involved in a disruption effort against a Japanese whaling mission in the Antarctic. That annual hunt of up to 1,000 minke whales is carried out legally via a loophole in a moratorium that allows the limited killing of non-endangered whales for research.

Iceland, Japan and Norway have been pushing strongly for an easing of the moratorium, imposed by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. In fact, the IWC is considering changes.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo of Paul Watson courtesy of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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