Whaling making a comeback?

Iceland economic and political collapse may have indirectly paved the way for a major gay rights victory, but it also seems to have resulted in a setback for environmentalists. On its way out the door, Iceland’s previous government substantially increased whaling quotas for the next five years in what environmental groups see as a swipe ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
589038_090128_whale5.jpg
589038_090128_whale5.jpg

Iceland economic and political collapse may have indirectly paved the way for a major gay rights victory, but it also seems to have resulted in a setback for environmentalists. On its way out the door, Iceland's previous government substantially increased whaling quotas for the next five years in what environmental groups see as a swipe at the left-leaning interim government, which largely opposes whaling:

"This is basically an act of sabotage, an act of bitterness, against the incoming government," said Arni Finnsson from the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA).

The new rules will allow the hunting of 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales over the next five years. The incoming government may still overturn the decision. Iceland is one of the three remaining countries -- along with Norway and Japan -- that stil permits commercial whaling.

Iceland economic and political collapse may have indirectly paved the way for a major gay rights victory, but it also seems to have resulted in a setback for environmentalists. On its way out the door, Iceland’s previous government substantially increased whaling quotas for the next five years in what environmental groups see as a swipe at the left-leaning interim government, which largely opposes whaling:

“This is basically an act of sabotage, an act of bitterness, against the incoming government,” said Arni Finnsson from the Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA).

The new rules will allow the hunting of 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales over the next five years. The incoming government may still overturn the decision. Iceland is one of the three remaining countries — along with Norway and Japan — that stil permits commercial whaling.

Japan is also pushing to overturn international restrictions on whaling. Rumors recently trickled out in the Australian media that the International Whaling Comission that the countries of the International Whaling Comission, led by Australia, are considering expanding Japan’s quota for whaling in the North Pacific. Australia’s government, a member of the commission, has denied the reports but evidence seems to be mounting that some sort of offer was made to the Japanese.

Could the harpoon be making a comeback?

(Hat tip: TD)

Photo: DAVID BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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