Only 17 minke whales have been caught off Iceland’s coast thus far this season. It is therefore anticipated that whale meat will need to be imported in order to meet domestic demand. Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, managing director of IP fishing company, the only company involved in whale hunting in Iceland, told RÚV that this year’s catch is well below that of last year, when 46 whales were caught.
The current quota allows for 269 animals to be caught, but it is not usually considered necessary to catch the entirety of it. The goal is to catch as many whales as necessary in order to meet domestic demand in restaurants and supermarkets, which is estimated at about 50 animals.
“Last year was the first time in the past three years that we didn’t import whale meat from Norway in order to meet demand. So it looks like we’ll have Norwegian minke meat on the market, even before the new year,” Gunnar remarked. He added that while it is permitted to catch whales during a six-month period, until December, he has doubts about favorable weather conditions continuing past September at the latest.
Update: Information regarding the 2017 minke whale quota has been corrected. In an earlier version, it was stated as being 220 animals, quoting RÚV, but that number was incorrect.