It is expected that the first whaling boat will start hunting minkes today. A quota has been issued for 100 minkes this season with the goal to export the meat from 50 of these whales to Japan. For the past years the meat has primarily been sold on the domestic market.
A minke whaler in Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Minke whalers in the north, west and south of the country operate one 150-ton boat in cooperation. Last year was the first in a number of years that commercial minke hunting was allowed, until then minkes were primarily hunted for scientific purposes, RÚV reports.
The boat Jóhanna is docked in Njardvík and the first tour will be taken on Faxaflói bay. “We have to go further out than we have done previously because the line has been moved further out because of the whale watching areas. And then we have to spread the hunting out to some extent, both to the south of the country and to the north,” said Gudmundur Haraldsson, harpooner and steersman of Jóhanna.
Gunnar Örn Gudmundsson, the region’s veterinary and a representative of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), reviewed the situation on board the minke whaling boat yesterday while the hunters were making it ready, as is obligatory when mammals are slaughtered and processed.
The whalers are optimistic about being able to fill the 100 minke quota for the season.
Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.