139 Fin Whales Hunted During Whaling Season Skip to content
Iceland whaling Hvalur hf
Photo: Golli. A whale at Hvalur hf.’s whaling station in 2015.

139 Fin Whales Hunted During Whaling Season

Five fin whales were hunted this week and towed into Hvalfjörður fjord. A total of 139 whales were caught this whaling season by the company Hvalur hf, Mbl.is reports.

Five fin whales caught this week

As reported by Iceland Review earlier this year, two whaling ships owned by the company Hvalur hf. set off from Reykjavík harbour on June 22 this summer to begin the whaling season. No commercial whaling had taken place in Iceland for four years (although a single minke whale was hunted in 2021.)

By the start of September, 100 fin whales had been caught. Four weeks later, after a spell of fine weather, 39 additional whales had been hunted – with five of those being towed into Hvalfjörður fjord this week.

“What’s noteworthy this time around,” Elín B. Ragnarsdóttir, Division Head of Fishing Supervision with the Directorate of Fisheries, told Mbl.is, “is that inspectors from the Directorate of Fisheries have been aboard all whaling ships since August 24 and have supervised the hunting of fin whales on behalf of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST). Until August 24, inspectors were on board the whaling ships and supervised the hunting of about 15% of the whales.”

When asked if any complaints had been filed on behalf of the Directorate of Fisheries, Elín gestured towards MAST: “The supervision that is carried out today is largely in the hands of the Food and Veterinary Authority, given that animal-welfare issues fall within their purview. A summary of the Directorate of Fisheries’ supervision is being prepared but is not ready for publication.”

Whaling season usually concludes at the end of September (although it depends on the weather).

Only one whaling season to go?

Earlier this year, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir stated she saw little reason to permit whaling after Hvalur hf.’s current licence expires in 2023. In an op-ed published in the Morgunblaðið newspaper, Svandís wrote that there was little evidence that whaling was economically beneficial to Iceland. She also noted that the controversial nature of the practice has a negative impact on Iceland, though it may be hard to measure. The minister concluded by saying that the government would carry out an assessment on the potential economic and social impact of whaling this year.

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