With the very real prospect of Iceland's only fin whale hunter, Kristján Loftsson sending boats out to slaughter more whales before the hunts potentially end in just over a year, a survey of Icelandic people has confirmed that the majority believe whaling damages Iceland's reputation.
According to the new survey conducted by Maskína for the Icelandic Nature Conservation Association, only 6.1% thought the hunts have a good effect on the country's reputation, while only 21% consider whaling to be important for the economy. A mere 17% of women were in favour of whale hunting.
Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, executive director of the Icelandic Tourist Board, says Icelanders' attitudes are changing and that whale watching is beginning to yield great benefits as one of the main Icelandic tourist attractions.
‘Every time we go out hunting these incredible creatures, it ruins for those who are selling the experience of watching whales and damages the reputation,’ says Jóhannes. ‘We know from surveys and other data that Icelandic whaling has destroyed the tourism industry [a lot].’
One of the fin whale hunting vessels was seen leaving port in Reykjavik this week for sea trials. The first fin whale kill is often deliberately timed to coincide with Iceland's National Day (today) but this could be the last time we see these boats go out to hunt endangered fin whales if whaling is banned after next year.
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