Whaling in Iceland

Whaling in Iceland is an old tradition.

Like in Norway, Greenland, Faroe Islands and Japan, it is an old tradition in Iceland, dating back a few centuries.

Iceland and Whale Fishing, Illustration from "Description De L'Univers"
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In more modern times, Norwegian whaling expanded to Iceland, where many whaling stations were established.

The main targets were blue and fin whales, however sei and humpbacks were also taken if there was an opportinity.

The opinions were mixed as whaling sometimes conflicted with fishing which was also a big industry.

In the last century, Iceland was much better than Japan and Norway.

It  stopped whaling several times. It did not originally take a reservation against the IWC's moratorium, and while practicing research whaling for a while, it stopped it in 1989 under the pressure it got from anti-whaling countries and activists.

In the 1990s however it left the IWC, to rejoin it in the early 2000s with a reservation to the moratorium.

By now, it has followed the steps of Norway back to commercial whaling. However, the amounts of whales taken are relatively small, even though along with minke whales, fin whales have also been caught - the latter is still an endangered species.

It's a shame but at least Iceland does have a valid excuse, being a small island, which limits the land available for agriculture, and having a very cold climate, which makes agriculture hard to practice during most of the year.

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