Iceland firm ships more whale meat

LONDON (Kyodo) An Icelandic company that resumed full-fledged whale exports to Japan this year has shipped more than 600 tons of finback whale meat, and the annual total could reach a level not seen since the early 1990s, sources said.

The company, Hvalur, exported 631 tons in the first nine months of the year, according to the sources and Icelandic government data.

Japan’s annual output is roughly 4,000 tons, comprised mainly of minke whales.

Hvalur Managing Director Kristjan Loftsson said in October the company had shipped 500 to 600 tons of finback meat to Japan.

The company, which exported 66.6 tons of meat to Japan on a trial basis in 2008 for the first time in 17 years, plans to increase shipments depending on sales results, the sources said. It suspended Japan-bound exports in 2009.