Undercover pictures taken by Greenpeace show a harpooned whale being cut up for meat likely to be exported to Japan
The Guardian reports : Iceland has resumed its commercial hunting of fin whales after a two-year suspension by landing the first of an expected 180 whales in Hvalfjördur. The first kill prompted protests from environment and animal welfare groups that the hunt is “cruel and unnecessary”.
Undercover pictures taken aboard the Hvalur 8 by Greenpeace show the harpooned whale being cut up for meat that is likely to be exported to Japan. Fin whales are the second largest animal on earth after the blue whale and are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) condemned the Icelandic whaler Kristján Loftsson who has resumed fin whaling after a two year break. “It is a very sad day seeing these images and knowing that this endangered animal has suffered a cruel death, only to be cut up for meat that nobody needs,” said Robbie Marsland, UK director of IFAW.
“It is time that this dying industry was ended. We urge the Icelandic government to listen to its whale watching and tourism operators and many members of the public both within and outside Iceland and recognise that slaughtering whales is uneconomic as well as inhumane. Whale watching brings greater benefit to coastal communities.”
Iceland cancelled fin whale hunts in 2011 and 2012 partly because Japan, the largest market, was suffering an economic downturn after of the devastating tsunami in March 2011. Seven fin whales were killed in Iceland’s waters in 2006, 125 in 2009 and 148 in 2010.
Loftsson’s company Hvalur plans to hunt up to 180 fin whales in the 2013 season. The International Whaling Commission has banned commercial whaling but its authority is not recognised by Iceland. More than 1 million people from around the world signed a recent online petition against the trading of Icelandic fin whale meat amid revelations that some of it has ended up in dog food products in Japan.
“Whaling is brutal and belongs to a bygone era not the 21st century,” said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK. “It is deeply regrettable that a single Icelandic whaler backed by the government is undermining the global ban on commercial whaling which is there to secure the future of the world’s whales.”