It has been confirmed that no fin whales will be caught in Icelandic waters this year despite a quota for 150 whales having been issued. It was decided in the spring to postpone fin whaling due to the natural catastrophe in Japan, the main market for fin whale meat, and now it has completely been called off.
A fin whale being processed. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Gunnlaugur Fjólar Gunnlaugsson, director of Hvalur’s fin whale processing plant in Hvalfjördur, west Iceland, told skessuhorn.is that the reconstruction after the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan is slow—whale product companies were damaged—but they are hoping that the situation will have improved next spring.
“We are hopeful, we are patient and optimistic. […] Now we will start preparing for the next season; we haven’t given up on whaling,” he commented.
Approximately 150 people in west Iceland have been employed by fin whaling in the past summers and so the decision to cancel it has had an impact on the local employment market.
According to mbl.is, 148 fin whales were caught during last year’s season. This whaling season, almost 50 minkes have been caught so far.
Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.