Icelandic whalers have killed a minke whale in a whale watching bay, just south of Reykjavik, despite promises from the Ministry of Fisheries that the whalers would steer clear of whale watching areas.
The International Fund For Animal Welfare, (IFAW www.ifaw.org), which has been tracking the whaling boat since Iceland resumed whaling last month, filmed the whale being butchered at sea yesterday.
Whale watching operators in Iceland were deeply disappointed by the government’s broken promises. A whale watching boat carrying overseas tour operators was close to the scene of the slaughter, but alerted by IFAW observers, its captain decided to change course rather than allow his guests to witness a spectacle likely to deter them from bringing foreign tourists to Iceland.
Erin Heskett, IFAW’s observer currently on the scene in Iceland, said: "The whalers have shown an arrogant disregard, not just for the cruelty of their actions, but for the international reputation and economic future of Iceland.
"Tourism – based on the country’s spectacular wildlife and scenery – is Iceland’s fastest growing industry. It is now the second biggest source of foreign currency, as well as providing a livelihood for thousands of people. The government’s decision to resume whaling could do serious harm to the Icelandic economy."