We at Whales of Iceland and Special Tours were deeply saddened to learn of the killing of a very rare hybrid whale - what has now been confirmed to be a cross between the endangered blue whale and a fin whale. We join the number of companies and organizations in condemning the whaling company Hvalur hf for this act. While the death of this hybrid whale is especially tragic, Whales of Iceland & Special Tours believe that all whaling is a senseless loss of life and we would like to see an end to whaling in Iceland.
Whales of Iceland and Special Tours have been at the forefront of the mission to end whaling in Iceland. We contributed to discussions that led to legislation that was passed extending the sanctuary around Faxaflói Bay last year. This has significantly reduced the number of minke whales killed here in Iceland, and will hopefully lead to the end of minke whaling as well. We have also been active participants in the ''Meet Us Don't Eat Us'' campaign, which encourages visitors to Iceland to choose whale-friendly restaurants and not contribute to the fading demand for whale meat. We love these beautiful creatures and strongly believe that further education, and the opportunity to see these magnificent beings in the wild, will help people to have a better understanding of the situation. It is important for the Icelandic government to realize that there is much more value in watching whales than allowing them to be hunted.
Both Special Tours and Whales of Iceland emphasize education, both for locals and foreign visitors alike. A common misconception for locals and tourists is that whaling has strong cultural roots in Iceland, which is not the case. The attitude towards whaling is slowly changing and we are doing our part to contribute to raising awareness. Education is an important step towards the end of whaling and we are fortunate to have seen progress, as the percentage of Icelanders are in favor of whaling has been steadily decreasing over the last several years.
Whales of Iceland and Special Tours recently participated in the first every Reykjavík Whale Day. This was to raise awareness for marine conservation and protection of these beautiful creatures, done in partnership with IceWhale, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and other whale watching companies. Through our partnership with the Icelandic Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, we have also contributed photos and data which helps in better understanding the lives of the whales, dolphins and porpoises we see on our tours.
What Can You Do to Help?
We understand and appreciate the outrage from our guests and friends from around the world after the killing of the hybrid whale earlier this month. However, we are saddened to hear that many people are choosing to boycott travel to Iceland. The actions of a single company, however despicable, should not affect global opinions of our beautiful country. Instead, we invite everyone to help us achieve our cause, of ending whaling and the consumption of whale meat in Iceland. Here are just a few ways to help:
- Join the peaceful protest this week which will be held at the whaling station in Hvalfjörður, either this evening or tomorrow evening based on when the whaling boat returns to land.
- When traveling to Iceland please make sure that your vacation is whale-friendly - please do not visit restaurants that sell whale meat, or businesses that support whaling. When you do encounter a restaurant that sells whale meat, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to report it, as they keep track of whale-friendly restaurants. For more information on this, you can visit www.icewhale.is
- Sign the petition by pledging to not eat whale meat, available online at www.ifaw.is