Iceland’s only active whaler caught its first fin whale of the season, perhaps in one of the last hunting campaigns in the country’s history.
Hvalur 9 arrived at the processing facility in Hvalfjördur (west coast) early this Friday (24) with a 20-meter cetacean, also called a fin whale, captured the day before.
The mammal, the second largest animal on the planet after the blue whale, was immediately torn apart to separate the blubber from the meat, under the cameras of two Sea Shepherd activists.
“Every whale that is here and not in the ocean, where it belongs, is nonsense,” said Imogen Sawyer, an activist for this marine conservation organization.
The two ships of the island’s last whaler, Hvalur 8 (“whale” in Icelandic) and Hvalur 9, left Reykjavik on Wednesday (22) after spending three years stranded in port.
According to Kristján Loftsson, owner of Hvalur, this long interruption is due to the conflict between the Icelandic authorities over the delivery of an operating license for their processing plant.
The authorities deny this version, claiming that the absence of a license did not prevent fishing.
Until now, the shutdown was related to the return of commercial hunting in Japan, the main destination for cetacean meat, as well as complications from Covid-19.
Iceland agreed this year to a quota for the capture of 209 whales.
Like Norway and Japan, Iceland authorizes commercial whaling, despite a moratorium adopted in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and repeated criticism from animal advocates.