No whale hunt once again this year

24.04.2020 - 12:51
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Hvalur hf. will not hunt whales or process whale meat in Iceland this summer, for the second year in a row. As Japanese authorities subsidise products sold by Japanese whaling companies, it is difficult for Icelandic whale meat to compete there, the CEO of Hvalur says.

Kristján Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur, told Morgunblaðið that Icelandic whale products are also subject to stricter (and more expensive) testing and genetic analysis than those from Japan. Hvalur hf. is the only company in Iceland that hunts great whales.

Kristján says that while it might be possible to find some sort of market in Japan, it would be almost impossible to process whales in Iceland this year because of the coronavirus social distancing requirements. Whaling station workers need to work very closely together and would all need to quarantine if any one of them tested positive for COVID-19. 

Despite 2020 now being confirmed as the second year in a row without a whale hunt, Kristján says research is ongoing into the possible use of whale products as an iron-rich dietary supplement for anaemia patients; as well as the possible use of whale bones and blubber to make gelatine for medical and food production purposes. 

The legal hunting quota for this year is 200 fin whales and 200 minke whales. Two years ago, in 2018, the quota was the same but whalers hunted and processed 146 fin whales and six minke whales. 

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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