The 2013 whaling season in Iceland is now officially over, as announced in a news story on the website of the Akranes Labor Union today. A total of 134 fin whales have been caught since the season began on June 16.
Archive photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
The quota was for 154 fin whales in addition to 20 percent of last year’s unused catch—180 animals in total.
In the news story it is pointed out that 150 people were employed in connection with fin whaling this summer and so the industry is considered to have a positive effect on the West Iceland community, as well as the entire Icelandic society.
“It matters immensely to us Icelanders to have companies that generate export revenue, revenue that enables us to uphold a welfare society,” the news story maintains.
However, it has not proven easy for whaling company Hvalur to export fin whale meat.
A shipment destined for Japan was sent back to Iceland from Germany in July and Icelandic shipping company Samskip has announced that it will no longer have any part in the export of whale.
The minke whaling season concluded earlier this month. Only 38 whales of the 216 animal quota were caught (earlier stories state that the quota was for 229 minkes).
“We would have wanted at least ten more minkes. Demand for minke whale meat from restaurants is constantly increasing and the poor hunt this summer means that the meat will be finished this winter,” spokesperson for minke whalers Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson told Fréttablaðið.
Gunnar mainly blames former Minister of Industries Steingrímur J. Sigfússon for the poor catch this season as he decided to extend the whale reserve in Faxaflói Bay off Reykjavík—a decision later reversed by his successor Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson.