Iceland Resumes Whaling for Japan: More Dog Food?

Environmental organisations have strongly criticised the resumption of commercial fin whaling by Icelandic whaler Kristján Loftsson, whose company plans to hunt up to 180 fin whales this summer in an operation backed by the Icelandic government.

According to Greenpeace, The first fin whale, a 68 foot long male caught by the whaler Hvalur 8, was butchered in the port of Hvalfjörður, outside Reykjavik last night.

There is no market for fin whale meat in Iceland: in the past the whale meat was entirely for export to Japan, mostly to be made into luxury dog food.

The whaling is being carried out despite a ban on commercial whaling introduced by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of endangered species: their global population has declined by more than 70% over the last three generations. .

Fin whales are the world’s second largest mammals after blue whales.

Further Reading:
Reilly, S.B., Bannister, J.L., Best, P.B., Brown, M., Brownell Jr., R.L., Butterworth, D.S., Clapham, P.J., Cooke, J., Donovan, G.P., Urbán, J. & Zerbini, A.N. 2008. Balaenoptera physalus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . Downloaded on 19 June 2013.

by Jill Studholme