From: Reuters
Published March 14, 2008 04:08 AM

Iceland likely to start whaling again

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Iceland is likely to start whaling again this summer in a move certain to draw the ire of conservationists, the BBC said on its Web site on Thursday.

Iceland ended its ban on commercial whaling in 2006, but in August last year its fisheries ministry said it would not issue new quotas until market demand increased and an export agreement with Japan -- where whale meat is popular -- was in place.

The BBC said that a government official had confirmed that quotas would probably be issued again soon with whaling starting in May.

"We are not expecting any big quotas, but we are likely to see in the relatively near future some quotas for minke whales," it quoted Stefan Asmundsson, a senior official in Iceland's fisheries ministry, as saying.

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"The most important factor is to ensure the quotas are within sustainable limits."

Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, the head of Iceland's minke whaling association said he hoped for a quota for 100 of the whales, which grow up to 9 meters and weigh around 10 tons.

In 2006, Iceland said it would allow up to 30 minke whales and 9 fin whales to be hunted, ending a ban in place since 1986.

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