Iceland’s two whaling companies have suspended whale hunting for the second year in a row.
One of the companies, IP-Utgerd, which specialized in hunting minke whales, is shutting down for good.
Managing director Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson told AFP that whale hunting in Icelandic waters was no longer profitable. This he said, was due to a government measure in 2017 which expanded Iceland’s two whale sanctuaries further offshore.
“I’m never going to hunt whales again, I’m stopping for good,” Jonsson stated.
#Iceland announces no whales will be hunted for second year in a row as one of its two whaling companies shuts downs. "This is tremendous news." Whale and Dolphin Conservation @whales_org #goodnews #wildlifehttps://t.co/GwQFc9MZAm
— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) April 29, 2020
Since then, a reported 1,700 whales (mainly minke whales and fin whales) have been slaughtered.
Japanese whale hunting continues
Iceland’s other whaling company, Hvalur, which hunts fin whales, have cancelled their hunting activities for the season. Fin whales are the second biggest species of whales, after the blue whale.
Hvalur’s chief executive Kristjan Loftsson said that his hunting company was no longer able to compete financially with their Japanese counterparts, after Japan resumed commercial whaling in 2019. This was after Japan’s 30-year pause from commercial hunting.
Loftsson added that social distancing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic had also contributed to Hvalur’s decision to close for the summer.
Let’s hope it stays this way in Iceland. Because, in 2018, Hvalur broke a two-year fin whale hunting pause when they resumed whaling with a government-issued quota. A report at the time suggested it was in part due to a demand for whale meat in Iceland itself.
Image credit: Kasper Solberg