A whaling business in Iceland has announced that it will stop whaling altogether, while the largest whaling company in the country has halted its whaling operations for the second year in a row
Iceland based whaling company IP-Utgerd announced on the 24th of April, that it is stopping its whaling operations completely, while the country’s largest whaling firm, Hvalur hf., has said that it won’t be hunting any whales in 2020, doing so for the second year in a row.
IP-Utgerd, who mainly hunted for minke whales, have said that financial troubles are the mian reason for stopping whaling, following no-fishing zones off the Icelandic coast being extended, which has force its boats to go further offshore to hunt for whales.
Hvalur, the largest whaling company in the country, who mainly hunt the endangered fin whales, as well as minke whales, are ending operations due to competition with Japan, among other reasons, according to the company’s CEO, Kristján Loftsson.
For conservationists, this interruption to whaling, is welcome news, regardless of whether it is permanent.
Fabienne McLellan, co-director of international relations at Ocean Care, has said:
“This is indeed terrific news that for a second straight year, vulnerable fin whales will get a reprieve from Hvalur hf’s harpoons, the sole fin whaling company,”
“This said, fin whaling has been suspended in Iceland in the past, only to resume. While it looks promising that whaling in Iceland might stop for good, the temporary cessation of fin whaling must become permanent.”
“Icealanders traditionally do not eat meat from fin whale,”
“A consumer survey conducted a few years ago showed that only 3% of Icelanders eat minke whale meat regularly, while 75% never eat whale meat.”
McLellan went on to say how the majority of whale meat that is hunted and processed by Hvalur, is exported to Japan.
Rob Read, director of Sea Shepherd UK, a group that documented Hvalur’s whaling operations in 2018, also welcomed the news.
“I believe the writing is on the wall now for the world’s most notorious whaler — Kristjan Loftsson — and his company Hvalur hf.,” Read said.
“Now is the time for Loftsson to hang up his harpoons and for Iceland to become an ethical whale watching, not whale killing nation.”
In 2018, Hvalur hunter and killed 146 fin whales and six minke whales, a lot of which were pregnant females, and two of those whales also were hybrids between fin whales and blue whales, which caused a lot of controversy.
Rob Read has said that he believes this “intense scrutiny” Hvalur received after killing hybrids, could be another reason as to why the company won’t kill any whales this year.
Loftsson said the COVID-19 pandemic would make it impossible for Hvalur to continue whaling operations, since workers would need to be close to each other, making the current social distancing rules difficult to follow.
Breaking News Today has previously covered a story that Iceland has tested more of its population for COVID-19 than any other country and has found that half of those who test positive for the coronavirus show no symptoms and don’t know they are asymptomatic.