Iceland’s last active whaler catches first whale in nearly 4 years

Iceland's last active whaler catches first whale in nearly 4 years

Iceland’s only active whaler caught its first fin whale of the season, in perhaps one of the last hunting expeditions in the country’s history.

“Hvalur 9” arrived at the processing facility in Hvalfjordur (west coast) this Friday (24) morning, carrying a cetacean about 20 meters, also known as a fin whale, captured the day before.

The mammal, the second largest animal on the planet after the blue whale, was quickly separated from the flesh to separate the blubber, under the cameras of two Sea Shepherd activists.

“Every whale that is here and not in the ocean where it is is bullshit,” said Imogen Sawyer, an activist with this marine conservation organization.

Two ships of the island’s last whaler, “Hvalur 8” (“Whale” in Icelandic) and “Hvalur 9”, departed Reykjavik on Wednesday after spending three years stranded in port.

According to Havlur owner Kristjan Loftsson, this lengthy halt is due to a conflict between Icelandic authorities over the distribution of an operating license for their processing plant.

The authorities denied this version, saying that the absence of a license did not stop the fishing.

So far, the pause was related to the return of commercial hunting in Japan, the main destination for cetacean meat, as well as complications related to COVID-19.

Iceland has agreed a quota to catch 209 whales this year.

Along with Norway and Japan, Iceland is the only country in the world to authorize commercial whaling, despite a prohibition adopted in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and repeated criticism from animal advocates.

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