Iceland to resume hunting whales


Iceland plans to resume its disputed commercial fin whale hunt in June with a quota of at least 154 whales, the head of the only company that catches the giant mammals said Saturday.

Two vessels are being prepared for the hunt and they will head out to sea in early June, Hvalur Chief Executive Kristjan Loftsson told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV. “The quota is 154 whales plus some 20 percent from last season possibly,” he said.

Loftsson’s company caught 148 fin whales in 2010, but none in 2011 and 2012 due to the disintegration of its only market in quake- and tsunami-hit Japan.

Most of this year’s catch will be exported to Japan, he said.

“Things are improving there. . . . Everything is recovering,” he said.

Fin whales are the largest whale species after the blue whale. Iceland also hunts minke whales, a smaller species.

The International Whaling Commission imposed a global moratorium on whaling in 1986 amid alarm at the declining stock of the marine mammals.

Iceland, which resumed commercial whaling in 2006, and Norway are the only two countries still openly practicing commercial whaling in defiance of the moratorium.

  • AnimuX

    Unfortunately, Iceland continues to allow one company, Hvalur hf, owned and managed by one man, Kristjan Loftsson, to slaughter endangered fin whales in defiance of international conventions.

    The fact is, Iceland has a long history of regulatory violations and Hvalur hf has been a source of such bad behavior since its establishment. For example, when the International Whaling Commission announced a halt to hunting endangered blue whales in the North Atlantic in 1956, Hvalur hf continued killing the animals until 1960.

    As late as the 1980s Hvalur hf was hunting undersized fin and sei whales and continued killing the whales after the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling entered into force. At the time Iceland had agreed to adhere to the moratorium, so a bogus ‘research whaling’ program was invented — to be funded by export of whale meat to Japan.

    Thanks to massive international boycotts of Icelandic fish in the late 1980s, there was a 14 year interruption of Icelandic whaling. Unfortunately, in recent years the whaling industry has been revived with Loftsson’s considerable economic influence as one of the wealthiest men in Iceland.

    Today, Loftsson’s company plans to continue killing endangered fin whales in order to mass produce canned whale meat for Japanese dinner plates.

    Iceland should honor its international obligations and stop the slaughter of endangered fin whales in accordance with the decisions of the International Whaling Commission. There is absolutely no economic or nutritional need for the industrial exploitation of endangered whales.