Some of the whales that are targeted by whalers in the Icelandic water are Minke, fin, and sei whales. In 2018, 152 of those whales were killed.
IP-Utgerd is a whaling company that has announced it will stop whaling completely. The largest whaling company in Iceland, Hvalur hf, says that it won’t be doing any hunts for the second year in a row.
Conservationists and activists are happy about the decision, even if it was financial reasons why the decision was made and not ethical reasons.
Hvalur hf made the decision to postpone whale hunts (they typically hunt fin whales) due to a lack of demand out of Japan. Japan is its main purchaser and the country is now doing its own whaling.
The health crisis has also been noted as being damaging to its business in preventing employees from both hunting and processing whale meat.
IP-Utgerd has been hurt financially when no-fishing zones were extended off the Icelandic coast. It meant that they would have to travel further out to hunt whales.
Whaling has sparked a lot of controversy for many years. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) said that it would ban commercial whaling by 1986.
After the IWC ban went into effect, many countries stopped the practice, but Iceland continued commercial whaling activities until 2003.
The WWF said that over 31,000 whales have been killed by countries and companies that continue whaling since the ban, or moratorium, was established.
Whales.org claims that 146 fin whales were killed in Iceland during the 2018 season. This included two blue/fin whale hybrids, which are quite rare, along with a dozen pregnant females and six minke whales.
Last year’s whaling season was the first time in 17 years that no whale hunts took place in Iceland over the summer.
Both sei whales and fin whales are endangered, and we look forward to the possibility that the change in whaling practices, even if only temporary, will increase their populations.
After whaling of blue whales was stopped successfully, they were brought back from the brink of extinction.
Blue whales were hunted mercilessly for years for their blubber, meat, and baleen. Some 176,000 blue whales were killed in only 60 years. In February, the British and Arctic Survey (BAS) found an “unprecedented” number of those whales in South Georgia.
Let’s hope that the reduction in whaling that’s taking place in Iceland helps to restore those other whale populations.
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