The Icelandic government has suspended whaling until at least August 31, 2023, based on a recently published report by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), which determined Fin whaling to be illegal and not in compliance with the Icelandic Animal Welfare Act. In the coming months, the Department of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries will evaluate possible changes in hunting techniques and other restrictions to decide whether whaling can resumed in the future. It is no secret that hunting whales is an extremely cruel undertaking, because the animals often only die many minutes or sometimes even hours after being harpooned with up to four harpoons in their bodies. M.E.E.R, together with partner organizations, has already co-signed numerous letters that have been sent to the European Commission and the German government with the request to continue opposing Icelandic whaling. Whaling is unlikely to resume, experts say, because some aspects of the hunt, such as determining a potential pregnancy from the ship or avoiding the stressful pre-kill chase, are incompatible with the Animal Welfare Act. This is a milestone for global whale and dolphin conservation and we can hope that Fin whale hunting in Iceland will finally be a thing of the past.
Image: Fabian Ritter