Good Move Steingrímur Jóhann Sigfússon

This post was written by Reuben Bard-Rosenberg on February 21, 2009
Posted Under: Economy,Iceland

Jim Jay reports that Iceland’s new coalition government has planned to increase whaling quotas. A few weeks ago, the radical left-Green movement joined the Social Democratic party in a new coalition government.

Jim laments that it is the Left-Green Chairman Steingrímur Jóhann Sigfússon who, as minister of Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, has instituted plans to increase whaling quotas. Personally I think this is an excellent move.  Masses of Icelanders are currently faced with the loss of their livelihoods, in a country which is essentially bankrupt. Ameliorating the situation facings these human beings must surely take priority over our feelings for such an absurd and overly voluminous creature as the whale.  And surely there is something good to be said about the reorientation of the Icelandic economy from finance and banking towards the production of goods actually capable of satisfing human wants.

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Reader Comments


Well said, though brace yourself for the onslaught from the Radical Lifestylists…

Written By Jack on February 21st, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

Whilst by no means a radical lifestylist, I’m sufficiently environmentalist to give you a bit of an onslaught. There are several points that I would raise with this:

1) Setting aside your trivialisation of the issue by reducing desires for conservation to ‘feelings’ for absurd and overly voluminous creatures, quotas on whaling have been imposed for very valid reasons. Fin whales, which will be directly affected by the change in legislation, remain an endagered species and raising quotas on their fishing is an ecologically irresponsible policy.

2) Since I sense you have no interest in the preservation of species for preservation’s sake, we should perhaps turn the discussion from the eco logos to the eco nomos. Ameliorating the situation facing masses of Icelanders losing their livlihoods by driving a species to the brink of extinction is a remarkably short-termist solution. Fisherman across Europe are faced with potential livlihood losses precisely because fishing policies have decimated stocks. To ensure their livlihoods for the future, sustainable fishing policies need to be adhered to, even if that means short-term hardships.

3) I find your lack of compassion towards the whales deeply hypocritical given your own oft expressed feelings for absurd and most definitely overly voluminous creatures…

Written By Salman Shaheen on February 22nd, 2009 @ 3:30 am

1. Fin whales appear to not be greatly endangered in Icelandic waters. The main region for their endangered status seems to be lack of data and/or decrease in population in the Southern Hemisphere. See

2. Based on some of the figures on the website above, the proposed quota over 5 years of 100 minke whales p/a will have very little effect on the population. Additionally, the proposed quota for 150 fin whales p/a over 5 years will, if kept at those levels, also have a fairly limited impact. It seems that as long as the quotas remain at a responsible level, will have the desired economic effects and retain sustainable population levels.

3. Completely agree.

Written By Mike on February 22nd, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

I am willing to accept that point number 3 speaks an incisive truth. CHeers for the wonderufl info mike. Salman had me stumped.

Written By Reuben on February 22nd, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

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