Iceland //

To whale or not to whale

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The Icelandic government’s decision to resume commercial whaling in late 2006 drove a wedge through Icelandic public opinion. Most of the population views whaling as a virtual birthright and is only too keen to turn a nationalistic blind eye to international protest, but it is also true that the nation’s burgeoning tourism industry has led to a decline in its near-total dependence on the fishing industry. Consequently, promoters of tourism lost no time in pointing out that foreigners have flocked to Iceland in recent years to watch whales in their natural habitat, not to see them unceremoniously sliced up for the dinner table – and despite a seeming nonchalance, Icelanders are painfully aware that their tiny country on the very edge of Europe can ill afford any kind of international boycott.

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