On October 22, 2006, Iceland began violating the global moratorium on whaling. Iceland has launched a commercial whale hunt for the first time in two decades.

Iceland's Ministry of Fisheries has granted permits for the killing of nine endangered fin whales and 30 piked whales (aka Minke whales).

Iceland now joins Norway and Japan as the world's three rogue whaling nations. Iceland has become the North Korea of whalers displaying complete contempt for international conservation law and total disrespect for conservation and world opinion.

Sea Shepherd believes that the members of the IWC should impose economic sanctions on Iceland. Furthermore, the United States should censure Iceland under the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment.

Twenty years ago, on November 16, 1986, Sea Shepherd crew sank half the Icelandic whaling fleet and destroyed the whale meat processing plant in Reykjavik. That action was taken in response to Iceland violating the global moratorium the first year it was imposed.

Icelandic authorities refused to charge the Sea Shepherd crew despite Captain Watson turning himself in to the authorities in Iceland to demand that they lay charges. "They refused to charge us because they knew they were in violation of international law and they knew if they put us on trial they would be putting Iceland on trial."

Sea Shepherd is working on plans to return to Iceland.


Why does Iceland continue to kill whales?

"They do it in a pathetic attempt to hold onto the past so that they can continue to identify with their bloody legacy of whaling," said Captain Paul Watson. "It is a blood sport to them and a way of indulging in the sadistic pleasure of killing whales and thumbing their noses at other nations. Killing whales is the pursuit of little people with small minds with a lust to destroy creatures more intelligent and more beautiful than themselves."

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is supporting an international boycott of tourism to Iceland and a boycott of all Icelandic products.


Sea Shepherd - Actions Defending the Whales of Iceland


Whaling came to an end in 1986 after a Sea Shepherd crew scuttled half the whaling fleet and destroyed the whale meat processing plant. This action cost the Icelandic whalers about $10 million dollars and did not cause any injuries. Iceland did not press charges for fear of putting themselves on trial in the court of public opinion for their illegal whaling activities.


Australians Try to Dissuade Iceland from Whaling

Australia's former Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell has condemned Iceland's decision to pursue 'scientific' whaling saying it is nothing more than wanton slaughter.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has reported the Iceland Government had issued three Special Permits to take minke whales for the purpose of 'scientific' research this year.

Senator Campbell said that Iceland's intention to kill 39 whales for science was particularly disappointing given recent world opinion against this practice.

He has conveyed his concerns in very clear terms to both the Minister for Fisheries and the Minister for the Environment in Iceland and received the following response:

Press Release
Source: Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries

Iceland's Response to Australia's Charges Regarding Minke Whales Wednesday August 24, 2005, 12:50 pm ET

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire
The following is an answer from the Icelandic Minister of Fisheries to the letter from Ian Campbell the Australian Minister of the Environment and Heritage where the Australian Government condemns the proposed killing of up to 39 minke whales in 2005 under the guise of scientific research. The text of the letter from Arni M. Mathiesen, Icelandic Minister of Fisheries, to Ian Campbell follows:

With reference to your letter of 20 July 2005 regarding Iceland's issue of Special Permits for the year 2005 I would hereby like to indicate subsequent facts.

Firstly I see it as necessary to point out that in accordance to Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling any member of the IWC has the undisputed right to conduct whaling for the purposes of scientific research. Iceland's whaling is therefore undisputedly legal.

According to the most recent estimate, agreed by the Scientific Committee of the IWC, around 44 thousand minke whales reside in Icelandic waters during the summer. When discussing the Icelandic research proposal, the Scientific Committee unanimously agreed that the proposed catches were highly unlikely to have any negative effect on the population.

Scientific research of whales is of great importance for Iceland where it constitutes essential part of our ecological approach to the conservation and management of living marine resources. As you may know whales constitute a large component of the marine ecosystem in Icelandic waters and from a scientific point of view it is highly undesirable to leave them out of research programs on ecological interaction in the marine environment. In the long term, research on whales is necessary to ensure sustainable fisheries and sustainable use of living marine resources in general. Leaving whales out of the picture may simply lead to false conclusions and poor management.

Most of the questions posed by the Icelandic research programme can not be sufficiently addressed without taking whales. These are for example detailed information on diet composition and analysis of biological parameters (age, reproduction etc.) and monitoring of health condition (pollutant levels, energetic condition and veterinary dissection). Where as most of the proposed non-lethal methods have not been scientifically validated then such validation is among the research plan's objectives. Thus the Icelandic research programme may contribute significantly to the development of non-lethal methods.

The methods used for hunting the minke whales are the best available from a humane perspective. No high-speed chases are involved and the animals do not realise that they are being hunted. Statistics from Norway, where the same methods are used, show that around 80% of the animals die instantaneously upon being hit. An overwhelming majority of the remaining 20% become immediately unconscious and die within minutes. The methods used ensure that the catches are done in the quickest and most humane way possible and that suffering is minimised.

In this context I would like to remind you that Resolution (2001-2) on Whale Killing Methods not only encourages governments to submit information regarding whaling but also comparative data from the killing of other large mammals. In relation to this the helicopter shootings of thousands of Australian Feral Camels and the killing of millions of Australian kangaroos annually are of special interest. In light of your interest in the issue of killing methods I assume that Australia will submit relevant data on these activities to the forthcoming workshop on whale killing methods and associated welfare issues at IWC58.

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