Eleven Fin Whales Caught in Iceland in One Week Skip to content

Eleven Fin Whales Caught in Iceland in One Week

Four fin whales were landed at the Hvalstöðin whale processing station in Hvalfjörður, West Iceland, on Sunday, brought in by whaling vessels Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9. That made the grand total of fin whales caught in the first week of the season to 11. The quota is for 180 animals.

whaling_ipaA whaling vessel. Photo copyright Icelandic Photo Agency.

“It’s going fantastically well. The atmosphere here at the whaling station is great, just like in the old days,” commented manager of Hvalstöðin Gunnlaugur F. Gunnlaugsson to Morgunblaðið. “It’s always the same feeling.”

Gunnlaugur added that the whales were of good quality. He said that they differ in weight but estimated that that a 60-feet (18.3-meter) fin whale weighs 40-50 tons when hauled out of the ocean.

Ninety people work eight-hour shifts on cutting the whale meat at Hvalstöðin. Many of the employees are students working a summer job but among them are also experienced whale cutters. “They always return,” said Gunnlaugur.

Each employee works two shifts in a 24-hour period and one shift the next. On Sunday they were preparing to work through the night.

The meat, ventral grooves, fat and tails are frozen. The bones are sawed into pieces and boiled to extract the oil. Then the bones are used for making meal, along with the intestines and cutoffs.

The main freezing plant is at Hvalstöðin but 30 people also work on freezing whale products in Akranes and 15 in Hafnarfjörður. Each whaling vessel has a crew of 13. A total of 161 people are employed by whaling company Hvalur this summer.

Iceland’s decision to resume commercial hunting of fin whales—a species listed as endangered—after a two-year break has raised controversy both on a national and global scale.

Dutch authorities have committed to banning the transit of Icelandic whale meat through Dutch ports—most of it is destined for the Japanese market—after a petition garnered over one million signatures.

CEO of Care for the Wild International Philip Mansbridge wrote today on huffingtonpost.co.uk that tourists should boycott Iceland in protest of whaling.


20.06.2013 | Iceland’s First Slain Fin Whale Provokes Protests

18.06.2013 | First Fin Whale Caught in Iceland


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