Whaling represents only 20 to 25 percent of overall income nowadays for most of the 30-odd whaling vessels that take part in the hunt in Norway each year.
In that light, whale safaris have become a more profitable business, with lower costs and less conflict. Usually.
"Once a whaler harpooned a whale right in front of us. My passengers, who were German tourists, were horrified. I almost had a heart attack," says Heiki Vester who runs the Ocean Sounds whale safari company.
Jan Kristiansen, who represents the
whalers, defended the shootings. He claimed the whalerswere simply taking advantage of the nice weather, when the hunting is best.
"Many of the whaling boats had been tied up at the dock for several days, waiting for better weather," he said. "When it finally came, we have to make the most of it."
Kristiansen claimed that he and the other
whalers"don't have anything against the whale safari boats... but it's important to get across that it's the extreme opponents of whaling that travel out to see whales.
"We can't prevent them from being against the hunt, and they can't prevent us from hunting."
Although opinion polls have shown general support for whaling among Icelanders, some shun the meat because of the giant creatures' still-limited numbers. Others worry that whaling will hurt Iceland's image and thus harm its thriving tourist industry.
Eva Maria Thorarinsdottir, marketing manager of Reykjavik's Elding Whale Watching, says minke whales were much friendlier before hunting resumed, but now they avoid ships. She regards whale-hunting as akin to fox-hunting in England: a legacy kept alive only by "proud, rich traditionalists." She adds: "Our business is much more profitable than theirs."
The eco-tourism boat full of tourists came up along side the Baird’s beaked whale as they spotted water from it’s blowhole. The 20 tourists looked on in horror to see the rare whale struggling for life bleeding from a harpoon. One of the two other whale watching ships nearby left when a child started crying.
Now if thats not bad enough, these whaling nations are also damaging the well established whale watching industries of other nations such as New Zealand. In some cases Japans bully tactics have crossed the line into extortion with certain whales being held for ransom, in an economic standover technique.
Look at the war japan waged on Australias whale watching industry
for example Link 1 link 2 link 3
"Let us kill what we want or we will obliterate your whale watching industry in a single whale kill mission!"
End of the day,