Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The 2015 fin whale hunting season begins in Iceland

Up to 154 fin whales could be killed under this year's Icelandic quota

Iceland’s fin whaling season has begun with the first boats leaving harbour overnight to hunt for the world's second largest species of whale.

Iceland’s lone whaling operator, Kristjan Loftsson, usually begins fin whaling on or around Iceland’s National Day of June 17 but this year the departure has been delayed, apparently because of a strike by veterinary inspectors.

The vessel Winter Bay, which is registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis, had also been stuck in Hafnarfjordur harbour in Iceland for several weeks due to serious technical problems. 

The 2015 minke whaling season has already begun but has also faced delays and difficulties because of the veterinary inspectors’ strike.

According to the Minke Whalers’ Association and the Fisheries Directorate websites, 14 minke whales have so far been killed.

Iceland’s own kill quotas allow whalers to harpoon up to 229 minke whales in a season. A quota of 239 was issued for last year but only around 10% of the catch limit, 24 minkes, were killed. 

This year’s catch limit for fin whaling is 154. Last year Iceland’s whalers took 137 fin whales, the meat from which is currently in transit to Japan. 

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