the Scientific Committee’s work on implementing the RMP would only allow it to make recommendations on safe removal limits for some stocks of common minke whale (in the North Atlantic and North Pacific). It is in the process of completing work on western North Pacific Bryde’s whales (*David: see note at bottom of page) and it will begin the final two years of work on North Atlantic fin whales next year.Given that the IWC Scientific Committee will be able to provide advice within the next couple of years on Fin whale quotas in the North Atlantic, I assume that the Icelandic government will hold off on increasing quotas substantially before that time (Iceland's IWC representatives took great interest in this at this year's IWC plenary on Day 2). Once the implementation work is completed however, there is little reason to believe that Iceland would not issues permits up to the limits advised as sustainable by the IWC Scientific Committee.
There are estimated to be 25,000 fin whales in the North Atlantic, which is thought to be more than 70% of the pre-exploitation level, says Vikingsson. "You can't say that there is a danger of extinction," he says — not in the North Atlantic.I haven't seen official IWC endorsed estimates of pre-whaling abundance of these stocks in the Icelandic region, but given that the figures of current abundance that they reported have been clearly endorsed on the IWC's homepage, I will assume that they are correct on this point as well.
The minke whale is classified as 'near threatened'. Vikingsson says the Icelandic population is thought to be at 90% pre-exploitation levels.
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