Kristjan Loftsson, manager of whaling firm Hvalur, said ... firms must first test the meat for dangerous chemicals to see if it meets food industry standards.Based on the Japanese articles I have seen, I agree that a supply of 100 tonnes of fin whale meat should easily have a market found for it. Loftsson is absolutely right in taking the time to run the tests pollutants. One point that I haven't seen covered anywhere yet is the process of registering the DNA of each whale with the ICR. Currently all meat sourced from Japan's research programmes is logged on the DNA register, and fishermen wishing to market products based on by-caught whales may also do so on the condition that they provide the authorities with a DNA sample from the whale.
"We have not sold any meat. First we must analyse the meat. When that's done, then there will be no problems," he said.
Loftsson expects a decision on when Hvalur will start marketing the meat abroad by the end of January, but said the analysis of the meat has taken longer than expected.
"We must prepare and carry out testing carefully. We have never done this before and we have to do an extremely good job," Loftsson said.
Gudfinnsson said there were no laws or regulations in Japan, where Icelandic whaling firms plan to sell most of their catch, to prevent the import of whale meat.
... according to the latest statistics, Iceland's tourism industry stayed strong into the end of 2006.The article unfortunately doesn't provide any monthly figures to substantiate the statement, but based on past history, I am expecting that the impact on tourism from the decision will indeed be limited, ultimately. Iceland resumed whaling in a scientific form in 2003, as opposed to the commercial form of the latest hunt, and the reality is that people who oppose whaling will generally oppose it in any form. Many people who opposed Iceland's scientific permits were also likely under the impression that the research was "commercial whaling in disguise", anyway.
Keflavik Airport saw an 11 percent rise in passenger traffic in 2006, while stays in Icelandic hotels were up by 11 percent in the first 11 months of 2006.
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