Country Announces That Whaling Will Be Stopped This Year
Jun 1st, 2020
Whaling is the term used for hunting whales for their usable products like meat and blubber. These can be turned into a type of oil that is becoming more and more important in the industrial revolution. Whaling has been practiced since 875 AD by an organized industry.
Iceland is one of the countries that still allow commercial whaling. And for the first time since 2002, they are not hunting any whales!
The Icelandic whaling company, IP-Utgerd recently announced that they are stopping whaling completely. And the country’s largest whaling firm, Hvalur hf., also said that it won’t be hunting whales too. And this is their second year in a row of not hunting for whales.
IP-Utgerd targets minke whales explained that they experienced some financial difficulties after the no-fishing zones were extended off the Icelandic coasts. This forced the boats to go further and offshore. According to Hvalur CEO Kristján Loftsson, they also stopped their operations because of their stiff competition with Japan. Hvalur is the company that is known for hunting fin whales.
Hvalur used to sell its whale meat to Japan. But according to the company’s CEO, Hvalur is not able to compete with whale meat products from Japan which are subsidized by the Japanese government. The CEO also said that Japan also now has strict requirements when it comes to importing whale meat. That is why it is more difficult for their company to make deals with Japan.
And also, the CEO explained that since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, it would be impossible for the company to hunt for whales and process the meat. Workers need to be in close proximity to each other during this process and this will not be possible with the social distancing rules that everyone needs to follow.
This may be bad news for these companies, but for conservationists, this is the good news that they have been waiting for. Fabienne McLellan, the co-director for the international relations at Ocean Care said, “This is indeed terrific news that for a second straight year, vulnerable fin whales will get a reprieve from Hvalur hf. ’s harpoons, the sole fin whaling company.
” He added, “This said, fin whaling has been suspended in Iceland in the past, only to resume. While it looks promising that whaling in Iceland might stop for good, the temporary cessation of fin whaling must become permanent. ”
Sea Shepherd UK is a group that documented Hvalur’s whaling operations back in 2018. And this is good news for them too. The group’s director, Rob Read said, “I believe the writing is on the wall now for the world’s most notorious whaler — Kristjan Loftsson — and his company Hvalur hf.
Now is the time for Loftsson to hang up his harpoons and for Iceland to become an ethical whale watching, not whale killing nation. ”
Hvalur has been whaling since 1948. They didn’t even stop when the International Whaling Commission placed a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. And according to records, Hvalur killed 148 fin whales in 2018 alone.
This is something that conservationists are celebrating about. They are also hoping that Hvalur would not go back to this business anymore. Also, everyone believes that Loftsson can convert his whaling facility into an educational center.