A total of 146 fin whales and six minke whales were killed in 2018
Iceland is infamous for its notorious tradition of whale killing. Finally, the global lockdown has avenged the deeds that coming to an end. The top entity of the ocean’s food chain will not drag-out at least for this year.
Earlier this week, one of the country’s two whaling companies decided that it would halt its whaling activities for good. This would be the second consecutive year that all whale hunts would be canceled.
Though the company was considering whaling with only a single boat in late June or early July, it made the decision to obey financial sense. An attempt to get around extended no-fishing coastal zones rolled out to protect marine life.
The country’s largest whaling firm called Hvalur, which specializes in hunting fin whales, is also ceasing its operations for the second year in a row due to stiff competition from Japanese whaling firms, among other reasons.
Hulvar CEO Kristján Loftsson also admitted that the coronavirus pandemic would make it “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for his staff to work as normal due to their close proximity and the need to uphold physical distancing guidelines.
Most of the whale meat is sold to Japan, where it is desired as an iron-rich dietary supplement for anemia patients. However, he added that his company is unable to compete with the Japanese whaling industry which is subsidized by the country’s government.
According to Humane Society International, a total of 146 fin whales and six minke whales were killed in 2018, the last year during which Iceland’s whaling fleet was active.
Animal rights advocates have warmly welcomed the news and trumpeted it as a signal that the whaling industry in Iceland may have come to an end.
Fabienne McLellan, co-director of international relations at Ocean Care, told Mongabay:
“This is indeed terrific news that for a second straight year, vulnerable fin whales will get a reprieve from Hvalur hf’s harpoons, the sole fin whaling company.”
“This said, fin whaling has been suspended in Iceland in the past, only to resume. While it looks promising that whaling in Iceland might stop for good, the temporary cessation of fin whaling must become permanent.”