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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Britain and others step up pressure on iceland on whaling
Britain is one of seven leading Western countries who yesterday called on Iceland to reconsider its controversial decision to increase its whaling quota by up to six times. Others include the United States, Germany Finland, France, Holland and Sweden.
Feelings are running high outside Iceland and there are fears among some fish producers in the UK that the move, announced by the outgoing Fisheries Minister Einar K. Gudfinnsson, could leads to calls to boycott Icelandic cod and haddock. However, a recent poll showed that the majority of Icelanders support increased whaling and this view is also shared by Iceland's fishing industry which says it will bring extra income at a difficult time economically. Iceland's new left leaning government is thought to favour changing the decision, but it may have to wait until after the elections in two months time.
According to a letter obtained by the French news agency AFP, the ambassadors from the protesting countries wrote to the new Fisheries Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson, to express their views on whaling and other international issues.
The letter said: "We are writing to you today to express our governments' extreme disappointment in the decision of your predecessor to issue a quota for 150 fin and 100 minke whales to be harvested in Icelandic waters."
Iceland and Norway are the only two countries in the world that authorise commercial whaling. Japan does officially hunts whales under the guise of fishing for scientific purposes, but some whale meat is sold for consumption.
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