Earlier last week, Iceland announced its plans to authorize whale hunters to kill up to 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales over the next five years, which meant every year until 2023.

Government authorities authorized whalers to harpoon the gentle giants of the sea, stating the economic benefits this could do for the country. Kristjan Thor Juliusson, fisheries minister, stated that all those numbers were sustainable and were based on a thorough scientific research.

Authorities also claimed the figures of whale population have recovered – thrice as much as the population back in 1987.

Despite the huge decline in whale meat consumption among Icelandic citizens, with only tourists trying the meat these days, Iceland authorities still believe their meat could bring so much for the country.

Some members of the whale tourism industry, however, argue that whales “are worth more alive than they are dead,” reported The Independent. University of Iceland reported that whale watching revenue was £20m, while whaling only brought in 1.7 billion krona.

“Iceland’s economy benefits tremendously from tourism and particularly from whale watchers who trek to the country each year to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat,” Kitty Block, president of Humane Society of the United States, told The Dodo. “I’ve been on a whale watching boat in Iceland myself and felt the thrill of seeing these majestic animals rise to the surface. There really is no feeling like it.”

Just last summer, there have been reports that Iceland killed two rare blue/fin whale hybrids and pregnant females.

Iceland continues to defy the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whale hunting, along with Norway and Japan.