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Whale slaughter to increase; focus shifts to Iceland

January 28, 2009 |  2:26 pm

An endangered fin whale is brought to the harbor of Hvalfjörour, Iceland in 2006.

Outposts has been sharply critical of Japan for its insistence on hunting whales regardless of international opposition and a moratorium on commercial whaling.

And readers have pointed out that Iceland and Norway are also whaling nations. Sad, but true.

In fact, a story that moved today on the Environment News Service cited Iceland's plan to slaughter hundreds of endangered fin whales over the next five years.

The outgoing fisheries minister -- the coalition government resigned Monday -- said the new and substantially larger quotas are according to scientific recommendations of the Icelandic Marine Research Institute.

Huh? Killing whales for science? That sounds familiarly bogus.

Iceland, presumably, has increased quotas -- it hopes to kill 150 fin whales and 100 non-endangered minke whales annually through 2013 -- to  sell meat abroad, mostly to Japan, where there's still considerable demand.

As the head of a European marine mammal conservation group noted, "It is a sad day for whales that they now become the latest potential victims of the world economic crisis and we have not seen a hunt of this scale in the North Atlantic since the 1980s."

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: An endangered fin whale is brought to the harbor of Hvalfjörour, Iceland in 2006. Credit: Greenpeace