[Update: According to the Icelandic Marine Research Institute and whaling company Hvalur, 148 fin whales have been caught in Iceland this year. The original information about fin whales in this article was not correct.]
A whaling ship from Hvalur. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The minke whale season ended the previous weekend. Whaling company Hrefnuveidimenn caught 50 minkes and Fjördur ten. Managing director of Hrefnuveidimenn Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson told mbl.is that he is satisfied with the season.
“It has been very successful,” Jónsson said, adding that sales have been similar as last year. All the meat goes to the domestic market. “That is the reason for us not hunting any more whales,” he explained. The minke whale quota was for 216 animals.
The Whale and Dolphin Society (WDCS) issued a press release this week, saying that according to its sources, 148 fin whales were caught this season.
They say a total of 208 whales were killed in Iceland in 2010, two more than last year, making it Iceland’s highest catch since 1985.
WDCS asks what the Icelandic whaling industry plans to do with the 1,900-tons of whale products—the number is based on calculations used by the Icelandic government, they say.
“The Hvalur fin whaling company has sought to circumvent falling domestic meat demand by exporting to Japan, as well as promoting new uses for whale products. It has even gone so far as to use whale oil to fuel vessels to then hunt more whales,” the press release states.
Kate O’Connell, WDCS anti-whaling campaigner, says: “Iceland’s whaling is in a very contradictory situation—despite falling markets more whales have been killed. It then adds insult to injury by using dead whales to fuel vessels, simply to hunt more animals… the true definition of a vicious cycle.”
Click here to read more about whaling in Iceland.