Iceland Marine Research Institute proposes continued whaling Skip to content

Iceland Marine Research Institute proposes continued whaling

The Iceland Marine Research Institute has proposed a quota maximum of 200 fin whales for the next whaling season. According to a recent North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) report, the fin whale stock is close to its original size.

The Marine Institute also proposes a minke whale quota of 400 animals, Fréttabladid reports.

According to the proposal it is safe to hunt 200 fin whales if the hunt is spread across the entire area populated by fin whales. But if the whales are only hunted in a limited area, in the traditional whaling zone west off Iceland, only 150 animals should be killed.

The North Atlantic fin whale stock is not endangered but close to its original size, as stated in the NAMMCO report. In 2003, the commission concluded that if 150 fin whales were to be killed west off Iceland every year for the next 20 years, the whales would still manage to reproduce and the size of the stock would remain stable.

Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson said the government had not made a decision on continued commercial whaling, but added there had not been a change in whaling policy with the new administration.

Gudfinnsson said a decision would be made after news had been received on whether the whale meat caught last season could be sold. The minister told Channel 2 that if there was no market for the meat, whaling would automatically discontinue.

Seven fin whales out of a quota of nine were caught last season. Kristján Loftsson, manager of whaling company Hvalur hf., said it would not pay off financially to hunt the remaining two fin whales.

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