Kristján Loftsson, managing director of the only fin whaling company in Iceland, Hvalur hf., confirmed yesterday that as the situation is today his company will not hunt fin whales in Iceland this summer, despite having a quota of 150 fin whales.
Cutting a slain fin whale. Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The reason, Kristján told Morgunblaðið, is that contracts on salaries and wages for seamen could not be reached with the Fishermen’s Association of Iceland.
The association demands that he compensate his employees for cuts to the personal tax deduction for fishermen. Authorities have cut the tax discount gradually and now it is only half of what it used to be.
Kristján said his company cannot cope with the compensation. “I was taken aback when they maintained this demand. We will not go through with it.”
Hvalur had already made wage contracts with captains and engineers based on their wages in the last fin whaling season in 2010, when 148 fin whales were killed, including additions that have since been agreed in the employment market.
Fin whaling was not practiced last year because of the natural disasters that hit Japan, the main market for fin whale products.
Kristján said the Japanese market has not recovered fully yet but he had intended to operate one of Hvalur’s two whaling ships this summer for 80-90 days for an estimated catch of 60-70 fin whales.
Hvalur had intended to employ around 100 workers during the three-to-four-month whaling season.
Click here to read about speculations over whaling in Iceland.