Sunday, October 22, 2006

Iceland Allows Whaling of the Endangered Fin Whale

In a controversial decision, Iceland's fisheries ministry has announced today that after a 21-year-ban, it will allow limited whaling of Fin Whales, an endangered species. Just a few days ago, whales on Google Answers were discussed (to commemorate the anniversary of Moby Dick) - including one particular question on obtaining real sperm whale oil.

Whales are intelligent, and a Fin Whale brain, of the type that Iceland now wants to hunt, weights something like 6.5 kg. It seems a shame that a living being would be lost - and what's worse - it seems that most Icelanders do not consume whales today. You can't even claim that fin whales skin is unique in a way that would benefit humanity, as it has been proven to be wrong (search for "fin whale" on this very long answer by Crabcakes-ga). Even without trying to, the shipping/freight industry causes enough damages to whales, as evident from an answer by Tisme about Whale-Ship accidents.

Whaling Industry gains several more referrences on Google Answers. In an interesting answer about the black "Oak Bluffs" community in Martha's Vineyard, Pinkfreud notes that the demise of the whaling industry in the area at the turn of the 20th century has led to deflation in real estate values, and later to the development of Oak Bluff. The demise of whaling, therefore, could cause interesting (and in my opinion, positive) social consequences.

The whole affair is causing a great uproar exactly among the people who are the potential visitors to Iceland as tourists. There are also calls to boycott touristic travel to Iceland. This is a shame, because this is a beautiful country; and a visit there certainly seems worthwhile.

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