22 October 2006

A Request to the Icelandic Nation

On the occasion of its breach of a 21-year-old international ban on commercial whaling, just a quick request to the Icelandic nation: could you please close the door on your way out of the civilised world.


Anonymous said...

hear hear!,and dont come back.

Andri said...

If you tell us why we should do that, we can think about it. 1) Because killing pigs and cows is ok, but not whales? 2) Or because there is nothing in it for Iceland commercially?

Why I had whale steak for dinner

Glyn Moody said...

Well, for two reasons.

First, whales are in rather shorter supply than cows or pigs. Mankind in its greed and stupidity took many of its species to the brink once (and yes, lots of Brits were involved to our shame); to take them there again would be even more unforgivable as far as future generations are concerned.

And secondly, whales are the largest animals that have ever lived: if they became extinct it would not be just any old species in the middle of the bell curve, but one from the extreme end. In other words, losing the whales would change the curve much more than losing a ruminant, say.

Andri said...

First of all, Iceland has a long history of whaling much like Norway and other nations. I will agree that there is nothing in it for us. The market for whale meat is almost none existing. So I'm against it for that reason.

But, the whales around Iceland are not in any danger of becoming extinct. Not by a long shot. This year (for the first time in 17 years) it has been approved to hunt something like 50 whales. There of 9 fin whales but estimates tell us there are about 30,000 animals of the species. As you can see, we are being very careful.

What bothers me is how people can be against whaling and still eat other animals and not even wonder about how it came all that way to there plate. The reason for this is not very clear, some Icelanders blame Disney, Greenpeace and Sea Shepard for somehow changing the public opinion on whales, making them almost human. Smells like hypocrisy to me.

Glyn Moody said...

Not in danger of extinction? The BBC begs to differ:

Iceland has broken a 21-year-old international moratorium on commercial whaling by killing a fin whale - an endangered species.

But it's more a matter of Iceland being the thin end of the wedge. Doubtless Japan will follow suit, and maybe a few others, until we have whaling on a large scale. Once this happens, there will be an accelerating rush to catch the last few before they become extinct - classic tragedy of the commons stuff.

In other words, once you start on this downward spiral, there is no hope. The only solution is a ban, total, absolute, world-wide, on commercial, industrialised hunting.

Andri said...

Found this on Wikipedia:

"Today, about 10 Fin Whales are killed each year by aboriginal whalers on the west coast of Greenland, under an agreement with the International Whaling Commission to allow subsistence whaling in the area, although in October, 2006, Iceland's fisheries ministry authorized the hunting of nine Fin Whales through August, 2007"

"The Fin Whale's current status is poorly known in most areas outside the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, where recent studies indicate that there is a population of nearly 40,000 animals"

also ...

"Collisions with ships are an additional major cause of Fin Whale mortality. In some areas, they represent a substantial portion of the strandings of large whales. Most lethal and serious injuries are caused by large, fast-moving ships over or near the continential shelf."

Maybe we should ban ships to? ;)

Andri said...

Found this from a blogger named david:

"Actually Iceland is quite right about fin whales not being endangered in their waters. The IWC Secretariat confirms this:"


Glyn Moody said...

"In their waters": my point, as before, is about the escalation that will inevitably result from this. Once one person/nation acts selfishly, the others follow. Prisoner's dilemma and all that....