Feature Interview: Hunting culture under stress in Arctic

Grímur Valdimarsson, a senior advisor at Iceland's Ministry of Industries and Innovation (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
“The issue is when science is not guiding policy, but rather sentiment,” says Grímur Valdimarsson, a senior advisor at Iceland’s Ministry of Industries and Innovation. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
Today on Eye on the Arctic we bring you another instalment of our occasional series on how climate change, and the attention it is bringing to the North, is affecting hunting cultures around the circumpolar world.

Today we turn our attention to Iceland – where opposition to that country’s whale hunt is raising concerns.

Grímur Valdimarsson, a senior advisor at Iceland’s Ministry of Industries and Innovation, says the distinction between what is scientifically sustainable and what the moral opinions are of people or groups based outside the Arctic, are increasingly being blurred when it comes to northern hunting cultures.

The portrayal of Iceland’s whaling culture, as well as the effect the EU seal ban has had on Inuit, are two recent examples, he says.

“The issue is when science is not guiding policy, but rather sentiment,” Valdimarsson says.

He spoke to Eye on the Arctic this year, after a presentation on the issue at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, Norway.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canadian Inuit blast ruling on continued EU seal ban as ‘morally reprehensible,’ Eye on the Arctic

Denmark: Reinstilling pride in the Inuit seal hunt, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: What the EU seal ban has meant for Inuit communities in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Hunting and Fishing Party big winner in Sweden’s Sami vote, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska Natives rally for restored aboriginal hunting, fishing rights, Alaska Dispatch News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

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