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 is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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