Iceland’s fin whale hunt has resumed. According to multiple media sources, two Icelandic shipping vessels have headed out to catch this season’s quota of 184 fin whales.
The new fin whale hunt came after Iceland took a break from the controversial practice in 2011 and 2012. The pause came because the market for the whales had collapsed in the aftermath of the horrific March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant disaster that struck Japan, the only buyer for the fin whale meat.
However, the nation of Iceland has never backed down from its belief that it has the right to take the whales.
The problem is that the fin whale is an endangered species and is clearly redlisted as such by the far-from-hysterical International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
For many people, the whale take therefore represents an attack on the world’s wildlife heritage.
The two vessels are known to be called Hvalur 8 and 9, which the UK’s The Guardian has named as belonging to Icelandic millionaire Kristjan Loftsson.
A statement late Monday from the Animal Welfare Institute said that an endangered fin whale has already been killed by the expedition:
“The whale was killed some 150 nautical miles off Iceland’s west coast, and is expected to be landed at the company’s whaling station…less than an hour’s drive north of Reykjavik…One of the sites likely to be used is a building that belongs to Hvalur-subsidiary HB Grandi, Iceland’s leading seafood company.”
They said that the whale meat is likely destined for Japan. The Guardian report speculated that it could end up as luxury dog snacks.
The International Whaling Commission placed a global moratorium on whale hunts in 1996. Iceland and Norway openly defy the ban on commercial whale hunting.
Japan also hunts but has said that they only take whales for research.
I don’t read Icelandic and can’t yet confirm AWI’s report that a fin whale has already been killed. But I’m going to assume that the Icelandic whaling vessels aren’t out there to play tiddlywinks.
AWI is asking people to pressure President Obama to enforce sanctions against Icelandic whaling companies.
What are your thoughts on Iceland’s new fin whale hunt?
[humpback whale tail photo by tropicdreams via Shutterstock]