Greenland's Whaling Quota Increased
Delegates vote in favour of Greenland's increased whaling quota as Iceland is under fire for it's commercial whaling programme
On Monday, the 65th biennial summit of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) held in Slovenia opened with a vote of 46 to 11, with three abstentions, in favour of Greenland's bid to increase its annual killing quota to 207 kills annually until 2018.
The new proposal will allow Greenland's aboriginal hunters to kill 176 minke, 19 fin, 10 humpback and two bowhead whales a year.
Fin whales and minke whales are listed under the Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Greenland claims to kill whales to satisfy the needs of its aboriginal population only and bid for an increase to 207 permitted kills a year. A similar proposal was ruled out at the 2012 IWC meeting after proof was presented by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) that Greenland was hunting whales for commercial reasons.
For global conservation groups the vote comes as a crushing defeat. Whale meat is increasingly available in Greenland at markets, hotels and restaurants and an investigation by the WDC last month revealed that Greenland actively markets whale products, including meat and tusks and jewellery made from orca teeth, to tourists.
In a press release issued by the WDC, the charity states that the vote may be 'responsible for paving the way for the reopening of commercial whaling, and eroding the very international ban that has helped most great cetacean species pull back from the brink of extinction'.
On the upside, 35 countries expressed their 'strong opposition' to Iceland's commercial whaling programme. In a joint letter presented to the Icelandic government on Monday, the 28 EU Member States, the USA, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand and Monaco called on Iceland to 'respect the IWC’s global moratorium and end its commercial whaling and international trade in whale products'.
Last week, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Animal Welfare Institue (AWI) and the WDC jointly released Slayed in Iceland, a new report outlining the connections between Iceland’s fin whale hunt and Iceland’s leading seafood company, HB Grandi.
The report strongly urged the IWC , governments and businesses dealing with Icelandic companies linked to whaling to take action to compel Iceland to cease commercial whaling and trade.