The whaler Hvalur 9 of the whaling factory Hvalstödin in Hvalfjördur, West Iceland, will soon be fully staffed and ready for non-scientific whaling.
Kristján Loftsson, manager of whaling company Hvalur hf., says the whaler’s engines will be tested this week, but it is undecided when it will start whale hunting. Fréttabladid reports.
Loftsson says that he has found enough people to man the ship and that the whaling factory in Hvalfjördur is almost ready to operate. Now he only needs a green light from the Ministry of Fisheries.
Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson told Fréttabladid that a decision has yet to be made on whether commercial whaling should be allowed or not. But he says it is on the agenda.
Iceland rejoined the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2002, but did not start hunting whales until 2003 and until this day only for scientific purposes.
Droplaug Ólafsdóttir of Iceland’s Marine Institute told icelandreview.com that whales are usually hunted during the summer. After that they leave Icelandic waters.
The unpredictable autumn weather and the shortening days also make whaling difficult after the summer months have passed.
Ólafsdóttir suspects that Hvalur 9 is hoping to catch fin whales. Whales are often accused of eating cod, which is a valuable source of income for Icelanders, but fin whales are not cod eaters, Ólafsdóttir says.
Iceland’s Marine Institute hunts around 50 minke whales a year for scientific purposes. The meat is sold to restaurants and is growing in popularity.