re: letter from Iceland regarding stopping whaling

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re: letter from Iceland regarding stopping whaling

#1 Postby savebabe » Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:11 pm

Here is a copy of an email I received from Iceland (after emailing them regarding their policy on whaling). I particularly like the part on so called "culling" to protect their valuable ecosystem as the whales eat soooo much cod and can threaten their existance!!! HELLO, the marine ecosystem was doing perfectly well before we came along! Anyway have a read if you will and make your own mind up :evil:

Thank you for your e-mail concerning Iceland's policy on whaling.
To begin with, I can assure you that Iceland's scientific whaling
program does not involve any of the endangered species of whales. The
scientific program, launched in 2003, is designed to establish a knowledge
base on the role of minke whales in the marine ecosystem, including their
interaction with fish stocks.
A total number of 36 minke whales were taken in 2003 and 25 were
caught this year as a part of the research program.. According to
scientific studies presented to the Scientific Committee of the
International Whaling Commission, there are abundant stocks of some species
of whales while some others are still threatened. It is estimated that
there are more than 67 thousand minke whales in the Central North Atlantic
Ocean, 24 thousand fin whales and 10 thousand sei whales.
The scientific program is based on a research plan Iceland put
forward within the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling
Commission. According to the plan, a total of 100 sei whales, 200 fin
whales and 200 minke whales are to be taken during the whole research
period. In implementing the plan, Icelandic authorities are exercising
utmost restraint.
Icelandic authorities are extremely attentive to the conservation of
marine resources. Iceland's economy depends heavily on the sustainable
utilization of such resources. Thus, marine resources account for more than
two thirds of Iceland's exports.
Disruption of the ecological balance in the sea around Iceland due to
over-fishing or physical degradation of the marine environment would have
catastrophic consequences for the livelihood of Icelanders. This is why the
Government of Iceland has invested substantial expertise and resources in
ensuring that the marine resources in Icelandic waters are appropriately
As you may know, Iceland was among the first countries in the world
to extend its economic zone to 200 nautical miles in the year 1975 to put
an end to the uncontrolled fishing around Iceland by trawlers from other
European countries, endangering the fish stocks. Since then, Iceland has
taken great care in maintaining balanced and sustainable fishing in
Icelandic waters by enforcing a strict quota system for various fish
species, including cod, herring and capelin, based on rigorous scientific
assessment and monitoring.
Iceland takes pride in its pioneering work in this field, which has
been emulated by many other countries wishing to avoid over-fishing. The
quotas for fishing are based on the recommendation of scientists, who
monitor the status of each stock. As whales form an integral part of the
marine ecosystem, they also need to be included as part of a comprehensive
Environmental groups have suggested that Iceland could profit more
from whale watching than whaling. However, the main objective the research
program is intended to serve is long-term sustainable development, not
short-term profit. Besides, whale watching and whaling are not mutually
exclusive, as the healthy conditions of the whale stocks around Iceland
attest to the beneficial effects of sustainable utilisation.
Selective marine resource management, excluding all factors of major
importance, is bound to induce unsustainable imbalances in the ecosystem.
Various species of whales are major factors in the ecosystem of the ocean
and must be taken account of in any policy meant to ensure the sustainable
utilization of marine resources.
The annual consumption of fish, krill and other biomass by whales in
Icelandic waters has been estimated around 6 million metric tons, several
times the total Icelandic fishery landings of 1.5 to 2.0 million metric
tons. This is an indication of the impact that whales are having on the
marine ecosystem.
It would be irresponsible to ignore a factor of such a magnitude. It
has been pointed out that the great number of minke whales can threaten
various species of fish such as cod, consumed by the minke whale in great
quantities. At the same time, it is probable that the more numerous whale
species, such as minke whales, fin whales and sei whales, may actually be
taking over the ecological niche, which some of the endangered whale
species used to fill, making it more difficult for them to recover as a
result. This also is an object of further study.
Iceland's research program on minke whales is a part of a
comprehensive scientific study on the ecological interactions between minke
whales and other marine species. Similarly, it is necessary to carry out
research on various aspects of the biology, feeding ecology and pathology
of fin and sei whales in the Northern Atlantic. This will be considered at
a later stage.
Iceland was one of the first countries in the world to realize the
importance of a conservation approach to whaling. As signs of
overexploitation of whales emerged early in the last century, Iceland
declared a ban on whaling for large whales in Iceland 1915 - 1935. Whaling
was not resumed again until 1948 (except for limited catches from one land
station 1935 - 1939). Strict rules and limitations were applied to whaling
in Iceland and they were restricted to small-scale land based operations
from 1948 to 1985 when all commercial whaling was halted again because of
the so-called international moratorium on whaling. This is an important
reason for the robust condition of the main whale stocks of large whales
Iceland used to utilize, i.e. the fin whales and sei whales in the Central
Northern Atlantic.
Iceland has been a leading advocate for international cooperation in
ensuring sustainable use of natural resources, including whales. This has
been the stance taken by Iceland within the International Whaling
Commission (IWC), based on the International Convention for the Regulation
of Whaling from 1946. The stated role of the IWC is to provide for the
proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly
development of the whaling industry.
The IWC is presently working on a Revised Management Scheme (RMS), to
provide a framework for ensuring the sustainability of commercial whaling
when it resumes. Iceland has committed itself to not authorizing commercial
whaling before 2006 or while progress is being made on the RMS. It has also
made it clear that commercial whaling will not be authorized in Iceland
without a sound scientific basis and an effective management and
enforcement scheme. Iceland has no plans for commercial whaling at this
I hope that this information will be useful to you in understanding
the views of the Icelandic authorities and ally any possible fears
regarding Iceland's position on whaling. You may rest assured, that the
desire to ensure the conservation of the whale stocks around Iceland and
elsewhere is fully shared by my Government.

Sincerely yours,

Ragnar Baldursson, Counsellor

For information on the governance of Icelandic marine living resources
please refer to the Icelandic Web Page, and for
information on various scientific research projects on whales and other
marine mammals in the North Atlantic please refer to the Web site of the
Marine Research Institute: and the North Atlantic Marine
Mammal Commission:

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#2 Postby Sknydpr » Tue Jun 14, 2005 4:26 pm

'It's okay, we're only killing a few.'

You're not listening, we don't think you should be killing ANY. We're concerned about individual suffering, not species extinction.

To most people, animals are only valuable if they can be used for human means.


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#3 Postby compassionategirl » Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:00 am

HI savebabe,

GOOD FOR YOU that you wrote to Iceland about their whaling policy. BUT I am curious what prompted you to target Iceland? YOu might want to check out Sea Shepherd Conservation society is the most agressive, active and effective defender orf marine wildlife in the world today.

MY shameful government pretty much has tried to sell us the same kind of bull with respect to the mass slaughter of Canandian harp seals off the eastern coast of Canada. According to the Canadian Government, the massive seal slaughter is justified because the seals are eating too much cod and ruining the ecosystem. How stupid do governments think the general public is? After decades of mismanagement and the resulting collapse of the East Coast cod fishing industry, the Canadian DFO has blamed the harp seals for the demise of cod. They have declared war on seals in the hopes that massive seal kills will bring back the cod and keep their fishermen working (as sealers). IN fact, cod is NOT a major food source of the harp and hood seal diet. According to the world's leading authoirty on harp seals, Dr. David Lavigne, harp seals only utilize young cod for 3% of their diet. More importantly, the remaining 97% of fish that the seals eat are actually predators on young cod. Remove the harp seal, and the return of cod could be hindered- not helped - by a significant increase in predatory fish eating cod.

But the governments think we are all too stupid to learn this.

here are the facts on the largest mass slaughter of marine wildlife - i.e. the yearly Canadian seal hunt:

The slaughter of seals is incredibly cruel - a post mortem survey has shown that 42% of these babies are skinned alive and left to die an agonizing death while their helpless mothers look on in horror. :cry:

It is a threat to the survival of the species.

It is a threat to the survival of cod.

It is a slaughter done mainly for unessential, vanity and luxury items and thus, unnecessary.

It is immoral to kill animals in front of their horrified mothers. :!:

It is unethical to slaughter newborn seal pups (about 95% of the seals to be slaughtered are babies less than four weeks old).


1. Boycott Canadian Seafood. As veggies, we all don't eat seafood anyway, but please ask your non-veggie spouses, families and friends to boycott CANADIAN seafood. Why? Because sealing is done by Canadian fishermen in the off season. The "Boycott Canadian seafood campaign" is meant to show the Canadian government that until these fishermen stop sealing (which contributes to less than 3% or so of their income) the world will not buy Canadian seafood. Since the only thing the fishing industry and the gov cares about is money, it is meant to hit them where it hurts.

FOr all non-veggies, when shopping for fish ask your grocery store manager if the fish is Canadian and explain why you will not buy Canadian seafood. Ask grocery stores to boycott Canadian as well. Same with restaurants when you are out to eat. Managers know where their fish comes from.

2. Email the Canadian prime minister and fisheries minister.

Canadian prime Minister:

The Right Honourable Paul Martin
pm@pm.gc.cafax 613-941-6900.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Mr. Geoff Regan and min@dfo-mpo.gc.cafax 613-996-6988 telephone 613-996-3085

Write and email also the Canadian embassador to the united States. Don;t have the info for that one but any internet savy person can get that info. if anybody does, please post a post in this thread with that info.

Focus on economic grounds instead of ethical ones. Politicians are generally not swayed by moral arguments. Tell them that you are perfectly informed of the real facts as set outr above and tell them that you will not buy any Canadian seafood until the seal hunt is permanently banned. Tell them that you will ask your friends, coworkers and family to do the same and threaten to write letters to editors in your local newspapers to reach thousands more people.

3. SIGN THE INTERNATIONAL ONLINE PETITION demanding that Canadian government stop this slaughter. Available at or call 1-360-370-5650 to request a copy or contact the sea shepherd's via email at

Write letters to the editor asking folks in your community to join the boycott of Canadian seafood to help baby seals from being skinned alive. Expose the cruelty of the Canadian government and Canadian fishing industry. Speak about it on your cell phone in a grocery store line up, even if there is realy nobody on the other end of the line. The people around you won't know.


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