A few days ago The Orkney News published an article about the restarting of commercial whaling in Iceland. Whales “Meet us don’t eat us” Controversy
The Hvalur hf (Whale Inc. ) company has 2 whaling vessels. This is the only commercial whaling company in Iceland. The whale meat is sold to Japan. Less than 2% of the Icelandic population eat whale meat with it mainly being consumed by tourists.
Here is a statement from MARINElife who were asked to identify if the whale being dragged to the processing station was indeed a Blue Whale.
“Cetacean experts from UK based Marine research charity MARINElife, along with other organisations, have been contacted by Sea Shepherd UK to confirm that images of Whale 22 harpooned by the whaling vessel Hvalur 8 and landed at the whaling station in Hvalfjordur, Iceland on Saturday 7th July was an endangered Blue Whale.
“Having analysed the photographs closely, our team are confident that all features show this animal to be a Blue Whale which is in direct contravention to a number of protections afforded to this iconic species. We hope that independent DNA analysis will verify our findings.
Dr Rachel Davies, MARINElife’s Conservation Science Manager stated
“from the colouration of the animal and the size/position of the dorsal fin along a thick tail stock, my first thought was this animal is a Blue Whale”,
whilst Emma Neave-Webb, Deputy Chair of Trustees said
“From the photographs we have seen, it is without question that this animal is a Blue Whale when you look at the key identification characteristics of skin colour/pattern, baleen colour, dorsal fin shape, tail stock. I am also seeing no indication that this is a hybrid which has also been suggested.”
“Blue whales are categorised as Endangered by the IUCN and protected international law including the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
“The company responsible for the kill, Hvalur hf, has been hunting Fin Whale since 18th June under a quota agreed by the Icelandic government.
“MARINElife as a charity is against whaling of any type.”
Numbers of whales killed in Iceland for commercial purposes
2015: 155 endangered fin whales and 29 minke whales
2014: 137 endangered fin whales and 24 minkes.
2013: 134 endangered fin whales and 38 minke whales.