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Humpback whale underwater

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Opposition MPs in Iceland demand economic review of whaling, fearing reputational damage far outweighs any economic benefits

Nine cross-party opposition MPs led by Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir have tabled a motion in the Icelandic parliament demanding an economic review of whaling from the Icelandic Finance Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson. The completion date for the review has been put back from the end of this year (as originally promised) until the end of March, 2015 and of course it is debatable how ‘independent’ such a review will be.

However, MPs have requested that all relevant stakeholders should be consulted and the key thing is that its publication will trigger significant debate within Iceland. Several MPs have spoken out against whaling in recent weeks, partly because they question any economic benefits but also because they feel increasingly concerned that whaling is negatively affecting Iceland’s position in international affairs.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, leader of the Left-Green opposition, commented earlier this summer: “I think Icelanders need to review whaling activities and assess just what the benefits are for the economy, given that whale meat has not been selling well and [we should] consider an environmental and ethical viewpoint in regards to how whales are hunted.”