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MPs want an assessment of the diplomatic and economic fallout from commercial whaling

By Staff

  • Gunnar Braagi Sveinsson The Minister of Foreign Affairs has been asked to deliver a report to the Parliament outlining and assessing the economic and diplomatic fallout from commercial whaling. Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson.

Members of all opposition parties in Parliament have requested the minister of foreign affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, give a report to the Parliament evaluating the diplomatic and economic fallout from whaling. The MPs also want Gunnar Bragi to answer whether the negative economic and diplomatic consequences outweigh any economic grain from whaling.

Worsening diplomatic relations between US and Iceland
Barack Obama has announced the US will put diplomatic pressure on Iceland over the decision to resume commercial whaling. Among the questions the MPs pose is what effect whaling has had on the diplomatic relations between the US and Iceland, and whether the reason no US official with a cabinet rank has visited Iceland since 2008, when Condoleezza Rice visited Iceland.

Iceland was not invited to attend “Our Ocean” an international conference on the Oceans organized by the US State Department in 2014. At the time it was reported the reason was commercial whaling in Iceland, and especially the export of whale products, which is in violation of international agreements. 

Does the economic gain from whaling outweigh the costs?
The MPs also request the report evaluate whether commercial whaling and the export of whale products has damaged the market for Icelandic products internationally and in the US especially, for example, by affecting the willingness of Whole Foods markets to sell high quality and luxury food products from Iceland.

The nine MPs from the Social Democratic Alliance, the Left Green Movement, Pirate Party and Bright future, a centrist party founded by former members of the Social Democratic Alliance and members of Jón Gnarr’s Best Party, also want the Minister to answer whether he believes the cost of the economic and diplomatic fallout from continued commercial whaling is outweighed by their economic significance.

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