Iceland's fisheries minister had said that whaling is no longer profitable and that commercial whaling could end in as little as two years – much to the delight of marine conservation groups.
In an article in the Morgunbladid newspaper, Svandis Svavarsdottir said that the fact only one whale had been killed in the past three years showed that whaling had little economic benefit for Iceland, and that this would be a crucial factor in any decision regarding extending whale hunting beyond 2023.
“Why should Iceland take the risk of keeping up whaling, which has not brought any economic gain, in order to sell a product for which there is hardly any demand?” she said.
Whaling can have a negative impact
She pointed out that Iceland's whale-killing activities can have a genuinely negative impact on the country, as witnessed by the US chain Whole Food stopping marketing any Icelandic products when the country resumed commercial hunting in 2006.
There are far more lucrative whale-related industries in Iceland. Hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on the island to go whale watching every year.
Vanessa Williams-Grey of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group commented: “This is obviously hugely welcome news – and not before time. Icelandic whalers have killed hundreds of whales in recent years, despite almost zero domestic demand.”