Iceland resumes fin whale hunting after two-year break


Iceland resumes fin whale hunting after two-year break

Undercover pictures taken by Greenpeace show a harpooned whale being cut up for meat likely to be exported to Japan.

Iceland has resumed its commercial hunting of fin whales after a two-year suspension by landing the first of an expected 180 whales in Hvalfjördur. The first kill prompted protests from environment and animal welfare groups that the hunt is “cruel and unnecessary”.

Undercover pictures taken aboard the Hvalur 8 by Greenpeace show the harpooned whale being cut up for meat that is likely to be exported to Japan. Fin whales are the second largest animal on earth after the blue whale and are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) condemned the Icelandic whaler Kristján Loftsson who has resumed fin whaling after a two year break. “It is a very sad day seeing these images and knowing that this endangered animal has suffered a cruel death, only to be cut up for meat that nobody needs,” said Robbie Marsland, UK director of IFAW.

“It is time that this dying industry was ended. We urge the Icelandic government to listen to its whale watching and tourism operators and many members of the public both within and outside Iceland and recognise that slaughtering whales is uneconomic as well as inhumane. Whale watching brings greater benefit to coastal communities.”

Iceland cancelled fin whale hunts in 2011 and 2012 partly because Japan, the largest market, was suffering an economic downturn after of the devastating tsunami in March 2011. Seven fin whales were killed in Iceland’s waters in 2006, 125 in 2009 and 148 in 2010.

Loftsson’s company Hvalur plans to hunt up to 180 fin whales in the 2013 season. The International Whaling Commission has banned commercial whaling but its authority is not recognised by Iceland. More than 1 million people from around the world signed a recent online petition against the trading of Icelandic fin whale meat amid revelations that some of it has ended up in dog food products in Japan.

“Whaling is brutal and belongs to a bygone era not the 21st century,” said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK. “It is deeply regrettable that a single Icelandic whaler backed by the government is undermining the global ban on commercial whaling which is there to secure the future of the world’s whales.”

Source: The Guardian

Minke Whaling Zone in Southwest Iceland Extended

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson suspended the decision of his predecessor Steingrímur J. Sigfússon on Friday on extending the reserve for minke whales in Faxaflói bay off Reykjavík, restoring the bay’s whaling zone to its former size.

Photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.

Sigurður backed his decision up by a statement, saying Steingrímur’s decision was “neither based on scientific viewpoints nor the interests of minke whaling in the area.” Sigurður also pointed out that 80 percent of minkes are caught within the border of the reserve Steingrímur was trying to create, Fréttablaðið reports.

“There are also no scientific arguments for decreasing the off-limits area,” pointed out Rannveig Grétarsdóttir, managing director of whale watching company Elding. “It’s just politics,” she commented.

Rannveig added that in the past two months, since the extension of the reserve, minkes have been unusually tame and more whales were spotted on each tour.

Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, managing director of minke whaling company Hrefna, said after the reserve was extended, the company’s whaling vessel Hrafneyður had to be operated from North Iceland.

“But now with this decision, another whaling operator will hunt in Faxaflói,” Gunnar added, revealing that whaling will probably resume in the bay this week. Hrafneyður will likely follow in August.

Gunnar stressed to RÚV yesterday that all minkes have been caught far away from whale watching boats, stating that there have not been any collision between the two industries.

The hunting quota for minke whales this season is 229 animals.

Source: Iceland Review Online

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Frank Brouwer

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

~ by FSVSF Admin on 10 July, 2013.

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