Iceland ends hunting of minke whales

Iceland has decided to stop minke whale fishing, which is more profitable for the local industry, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said on Friday.

The activity was experiencing a sharp decline: the number of catches has decreased significantly, from 46 harpooned cetaceans in 2016 to 17 last year, only 6 Minke whales were hunted in June 2018 (out of a quota of 262), and not only one has been in July, a traditionally good month for cetacean harpooning, according to figures released by IFAW.

The general director of IP-Utgerd Ltd, specialized in minke whaling and contacted by AFP soon after the announcement, confirmed the halting of the harpooning for 2018. In the newspaper Morgunbladid, he invoked a question of cost .

“We need to go much further from the coast than before, so we need more staff, which increases costs,” said Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson.

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), but Iceland, which opposed the moratorium, resumed hunting in 2003.

The Nordic country is, along with Norway, the only one in the world to allow whaling. Japan also hunts, but officially for scientific purposes, even though a lot of the meat is then sold on the market.

Only blue whaling, prohibited by the IWC, is also in Iceland.

In early July, the only Icelandic fin whale hunt, Hvalur hf., Was singled out by an animal rights group claiming that a blue whale had been harpooned by society. The hunted cetacean was actually a hybrid, a rare specimen and probably unable to reproduce.

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