Whale Hunters to Offer Whale Watching Trips Skip to content

Whale Hunters to Offer Whale Watching Trips

The company Hrefnuveidimenn, which hunts minkes and sells the meat on the domestic market, are planning to offer whale watching alongside hunting tours. If everything goes according to plan, the first whale watching tour will take place later this month.

A whale hunter. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“Whale watching might not be the accurate description,” managing director of Hrefnuveidimenn Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson told Fréttabladid. “We are offering whale watching with whale hunters.”

“We want to show people how whaling takes place without hunting the animals. We want to show the entire process, let people get to know us whalers, shoot from the guns and serve them whale meat,” Jónsson described.

Hrefnuveidimenn bought a new boat last spring, Hrafneydur, and wanted to find other ways to use it since the whaling period is limited.

“We can use the boat without changing it much and arrange it in such a way that we can go whale hunting and do tours in between,” Jónsson said.

“The only change is that the center deck has been accommodated as an exhibition hall where we show people the organs of whales, such as the heart, and other organs that we store in formalin,” he elaborated.

“And we have a collection of photographs from whaling in the old days and in modern times,” Jónsson said, adding: “We also added restrooms.”

Whaling is controversial and the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF) has openly spoken against it. At SAF’s general meeting last spring it was determined that whaling near whale watching areas had a negative impact on the whale watching industry.

When asked whether he believes it is suitable to offer whale watching from whale hunting boats, Jónsson replied: “That is namely the debate, that whaling and whale watching cannot go together. But we want to see the reactions.”

“It might very well happen that we’re shooting ourselves in the foot but I’m not too concerned. I believe these two things can go together. The tourist industry in Iceland has flourished since whaling was resumed,” Jónsson pointed out.

Hrefnuveidimenn have their headquarters in Kópavogur. The boat they will use for these tours weighs 100 tons and can carry 30 to 40 passengers.

Jónsson is excited about the new project which he believes is unique in the world. “There are people involved with this company who have hunted whales since the 1960s but they have never done anything like this.”

“We will hunt one more animal tomorrow and then we will stop hunting for now and concentrate on tourism,” he concluded.

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