Commercial whaling may start again in Iceland, either at the end of September or next spring. The owner of the Hvalur whaling boats has revamped one of them and is now going over the old whaling station itself.
He says there is nothing to stop Iceland from hunting whales, as Icelandĺs ôreservationö when it rejoined the International Whaling Commission only stipulated that Iceland would not start commercial whaling until 2006 at the earliest.
There are mixed feelings in Iceland around the whaling idea. A recent Gallup survey for companies in the fishing industry showed that 76.6% of respondents have eaten whale meat at sometime in their life, and 73.1% of Icelanders are in favour of commercial whaling. Opponents of whaling tally 11.5%, compared to 20.8% when a similar survey was carried out in 1997. So Icelanders are becoming less opposed to whaling than they were.
Nevertheless, the tourist industry is alarmed as they say that the majority of tourists come from countries that are very opposed to whaling. Although scientific whaling of the small minke whales has not been as damaging to the tourist industry as was first feared, there is likely to be far more opposition to commercial whaling of the large fin and sei whales. In addition, they point out that there is no market for whale meat (another survey has showed that only 1.1% of young people aged 18-24 have eaten whale meat), so there is really no point in killing them.