Zee Media Bureau
Reykjavik: The European Union (EU) along with US, France, Germany and Britain on Monday, led a joint opposition to Iceland government's permission for commercial hunting of whales.
The demarche by the EU's 28 member states and the governments of the US, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico, and Monaco showed their disappointment to the Iceland's continued authorisation of whaling, particularly fin and minke whales.
They asked the country to adhere to the internationally agreed moratorium on commercial whaling and to re-examine the decision to continue to issue fin and minke whale quotas.
"We ... call upon Iceland to respect the IWC’s (International Whaling Commission) global moratorium and end its commercial whaling and international trade in whale products," read the text, also signed by Israel and New Zealand.
Iceland says its policy on whaling has a scientific basis and reflects effective management of marine resources.
The North Atlantic island, home to 325,000 people, applied to join the EU five years ago after its economy was devastated by the global banking crisis but EU leaders do not expect to expand membership of the 28-nation bloc in the next few years.
While not threatening government sanctions against Iceland, the EU envoy warned that whaling could damage its economy, through boycotts that were supported by many voters.
"Public opinion in the countries that are Iceland`s main trading partners is very much against the practice of whaling," the European Commission said.
As stated on the demarche, Iceland hunted 125 fin whales in 2009, 148 fin whales in 2010, and 134 fin whales in 2013.
(With Agency Inputs)