Iceland Mag

5 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Animals

Whale sanctuary in Faxaflói bay to be expanded, new sanctuary established in N Iceland

By Staff

  • The whale sanctuary in Faxaflói Nearly all whales caught in Iceland in recent years have been caught inside the new expanded sanctuary. Photo/Ministry of fisheries

An important step was taken yesterday toward the conservation of whales in Icelandic waters yesterday when the outgoing minister of fisheries declared two of the main habitats of many whale species in Icelandic waters to be off-limits to whaling. The two whale sanctuaries which were announced yesterday cover the main hunting grounds of minke whales in Icelandic waters as well as the waters where most whale watching takes place. (See map below)

Read more: 335 minke whales caught since 2007, almost all inside proposed border of a Faxaflói bay whale sanctuary

According to the new executive decree all whaling will be banned in the eastern part of Faxaflói Bay, the bay between Reykjanes and Snæfellsnes peninsulas in West Iceland, as well as Eyjafjörður fjord and Skjálfandi bay in North Iceland. Most whale watching companies in Iceland operate in these waters. 

The incoming Left Green led coalition government could overturn the regulation. However, as the Left Greens have supported the expansion of whale sanctuaries around Iceland it is unlikely that the minister of agriculture and fisheries, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannesson, the chairman of the centrist and predominantly rural Progress Party, will pick a fight with the Prime Minister over the issue.

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