8 Oct

The battle over Icelandic whaling

After the Icelandic government had suspended fin whaling until August 31, 2023 on the basis of a report by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) (see https://m-e-e-r.de/islaendischer-walfang-eingestellt-fuer-immer/), it decided at the end of last month to not extend this band until the end of the season. Therefore, Hvalur hf., the only company still whaling in Iceland took up hunting whales again from September 1st. Since then, eleven fin whales have been killed. Nevertheless, MAST recently temporarily suspended the operation of one of the two whaling vessels (Hvalur 8). This is because monitoring of the catches demonstrated that the hunt has once again failed to comply with Icelandic animal welfare regulations. The first harpoon strike on one of the hunted fin whales was not fatal, and contrary to the new regulations, which stipulate that in such cases another harpoon shot to kill the whale must be carried out immediately, the crew only fired another shot about 30 minutes later. Until corrective measures are implemented and have been verified, the ship must remain in port. The whaling company’s second ship (Hvalur 9) however is continuing its hunt for the time being. It is to be hoped that the stricter monitoring measures, which MAST will publish a report on after the end of the hunting season will put an end to Icelandic whaling for good.

Image: Fabian Ritter