Skessuhorn, a regional newspaper in west Iceland, states that according to “reliable sources” it is very likely that commercial fin whale hunting will resume in the region in June and that a three-month season is planned.
A slain fin whale. CEO of Hvalur Kristján Loftsson (left) and former Minister of Fisheries Einar Kr. Guðfinnsson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Whaling was canceled last season due to the difficult situation on the Japanese market following the natural disasters that hit the country in 2011.
However, Kristján Loftsson, CEO of whaling company Hvalur, would not confirm the news to skessuhorn.is. He prefers to not discuss whaling in the media, he said.
To Fréttablaðið, Kristján said nothing had been decided regarding fin whaling this summer. “Hopefully it can happen and it hasn’t been ruled out but nothing has been decided. Skessuhorn is making up news at home to service anti-whaling activists abroad.”
According to Skessuhorn, Kristján was recently in Japan to meet potential buyers of fin whale products where local whalers have reportedly not been successful in the past few months.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) issued a press release in response to the news, urging European and US leaders to take strong diplomatic actions to end Iceland’s “continued and expanding” whaling.
Clare Perry, EIA senior campaigner, said: “Iceland has exported almost 2,000 tons of whale meat to Japan in recent years. The Icelandic whaling company Hvalur is deliberately growing an export market for an endangered species which is protected by two international agreements to which Iceland is signatory. We are calling on the EU and US to take urgent steps to end this rogue whaling.”
Iceland has engaged in commercial whaling for years in defiance of the international moratorium agreed to by the International Whaling Commission in 1982, the press release added.
Hvalur has an annual quota of 150-170 fin whales. Iceland’s annual minke whale hunt is also expected to resume soon, with a quota of 216.
Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.