The last minke whale, in a 2005 quota of 39 whales, was caught on Wednesday. Gunnar Bergmann, spokesperson for the Whale Hunters Association says that the hunting went well this summer. They plan to hunt 100 whales next summer.
Gunnar says in an interview with the Icelandic Broadcasting Service, RÚV, that the last whale was one of the largest whales caught this summer. He says that the whale meat went on the Icelandic market and sold much better than expected. “The market for whale meat is big”, said Gunnar, “and next year more whales should be hunted.”
Morgunbladid reports that in total 100 whales have been caught for scientific purposes since 2003. According to the Marine Research Institute the sampling of whales is therefor at a halfway mark, the original plans assumed hunting of 200 whales.
According to the Marine Research Institute, collecting samples and other data gathering have been successful, even though bad weather conditions delayed the hunts. The Institute says that the distribution of whales close to Iceland seems to be quite different from the distribution of whales during the 1986-2000 period. This year there were few whales in areas where they are usually prominent. Bird life in those areas has also decreased.
Morgunbladid reports the Institute saying that the main goal of the research is to gather basic data concerning the diet of the whale. Other research includes researching the genetics, health, mating, energy management and the physiology of the whales.
It is expected that preliminary results from this research will be presented for the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission in 2006.