Iceland grants a whaling license

The Icelandic government has approved a controversial decision to grant a whaling license to the Hvalur company for the 2024 season. This license allows for the hunting of 99 fin whales, classified as an endangered species, in the waters around Greenland and western Iceland, and an additional 29 in the eastern Iceland and Faroe Islands region. This decision was announced by Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food.

In 2023, Hvalur’s operations were temporarily suspended after a 2022 report showed that whales suffered terribly after being harpooned. However, once the ban was lifted, the operations resumed. The company’s last license expired in the same year, prompting Hvalur to reapply for it at the beginning of this year.

Kristján Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur, initially applied for a five or ten-year license, but he was only granted permission to continue whaling for the rest of 2024 without the possibility of extension. The company plans to continue investing in the development and refinement of its hunting equipment and methods to raise animal welfare standards.

The decision by the Icelandic government has faced sharp criticism from animal rights defenders who claim that whaling has no place in the modern world. International organizations, such as the International Whaling Commission (IWC), have been trying for years to discourage this practice, deeming it inhumane and unnecessary.

In response to the decision, Patrick Ramage, a director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, called the Icelandic government’s decision “absolutely ridiculous.” Ramage emphasizes that despite existing global moratoriums and declining demand for whale products, Iceland insists on continuing this practice.

Árni Finnsson from the Iceland Nature Conservation Association noted that although the license was only granted for one year and the limits are lower than in previous years, the decision still disregards international opposition and violates the whaling moratorium.

Globally, Iceland is not the only country continuing whaling practices. Japan and Norway also conduct fin whale hunts, which have faced international criticism. Organizations like OceanCare are calling for an end to the hunting of these majestic creatures, which are already under enough threat.

About the author

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Grzegorz Bubak

My fascination with marine aquariums began over two decades ago when I stumbled upon an article about this topic in a magazine. Since then, the underwater world has become my obsession and passion, shaping my everyday life. I started my adventure with marine aquariums with soft corals, which were my first step into this fascinating world. Over time, captivated by the diversity and beauty of SPS corals, I decided to focus on their cultivation, which continues to fill me with constant wonder.

Thanks to my experience and passion for marine aquariums, I am ready to share my knowledge and expertise with other enthusiasts in this field. I am happy to be part of the Reef Pedia community, which serves as an invaluable source of information for all marine aquarium lovers.