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Increased protected ocean area a boost for whale populations

Protections in the South Atlantic Ocean for one of the largest and most important marine...

Scientists solve mystery of whale song

One of the big mysteries surrounding exactly how some of the great whales are able...
Could this be an Omura's whale?

Rare ‘new’ whale may have been spotted for only the second time

An extremely elusive whale species has possibly been spotted for what is thought to be...
Blue whale © Andrew Sutton

Norway agrees to deep sea mining that threatens ocean wildlife

Norway's parliament has voted to allow mineral exploration on the Arctic seabed despite objections from...
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Port River dolphins

New report reveals 100,000 dolphins and small whales hunted every year

When you hear the words ‘dolphin hunts’ it’s likely that you think of Japan or...

Minke whale hunts stop in Iceland

Iceland’s commercial hunt of minke whales has ended for this year. The common minke whale is the...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to...

Pregnant whales once again a target for Japanese whalers

Figures from Japan's whaling expedition to Antarctica during the 2017/18 austral summer have revealed that...

Doubts remain after Icelandic Marine Institute claims slaughtered whale was a hybrid not a blue

Experts remain sceptical of initial test results issued by the Icelandic Marine Institute, which indicate...

Japan set to resume commercial whaling

Reports from Japan suggest that the government they will formally propose plans to resume commercial...

End the whale hunts! Icelandic fin whaler isolated as public mood shifts

Here’s a sight I hoped never again to witness. A boat being scrubbed and repainted...

Australian Government to block Japanese whaling proposal

Japanese Government officials have reportedly confirmed that they will propose the resumption of commercial whaling...

Did Icelandic whalers really kill a blue whale?

*Warning - this blog contains an image that you may find upsetting* They say a...

Norway's whaling season begins

April 1st saw the start of the whaling season in Norway. Despite a widely-accepted international moratorium...

SOS alert for whales off Norway!

I have to admit to bitter disappointment when I arrived in Tromsø, northern Norway, a...

Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling...

Icelandic whalers breach international law and kill iconic, protected whale by mistake

Icelandic whalers out hunting fin whales for the first time in three years appear to have killed a rare, protected blue whale (or blue/fin hybrid) by mistake.

Images documenting the slaughter of what is an iconic symbol of the natural world have deeply concerned international whale experts and confirm the indiscriminate and cruel nature of whale hunting.

Just before midnight on Saturday, 7th July, the Hvalur hf. fin whaling company landed its 22nd catch of the season at the whaling station at Hvalfjörður, Iceland.

The whale hauled up the slipway immediately caught the attention of Arne Feuerhahn, a German conservationist documenting the hunt as it was strikingly different in appearance to a fin whale.

Whaling company Hvalur hf, lead by CEO, Kristján Loftsson resumed the controversial fin whale hunt on 22nd June after a two year break. The season could see as many as 238 endangered fin whales killed under a self-allocated quota, which defies the international ban on commercial whaling.

Blue whale experts have studied the images of the whale landed last Sunday and conclude that it is a either a male blue whale or a blue/fin hybrid.

Blue whales are the largest creature on the planet. Reaching as much as 33m in length, they are listed as endangered, with a global population estimated at only 10,000 – 25,000 individuals. They have been protected from hunting since 1966 and are the symbol of the mass slaughter that was industrial whaling in the 20th century. It is estimated that up to 90% of the global population of blues was wiped out by commercial whaling operations.

Blue\fin whale hybrids are relatively rare, Icelandic authorities confirm that five hybrids have been identified by researchers since 1986 around Iceland.  Four of these were killed by Icelandic whalers. One has become famous and is very popular with whale watchers off Husavik and was identified as a hybrid using non-lethal methods.

Vanessa Williams-Grey, policy manager at WDC, said: “This incident confirms that whaling is still a serious threat to endangered whales. This industry was out of control in the 20th century and it remains so today. What Kristján Loftsson is doing is nothing short of an environmental crime.”

Arne Feuerhahn, CEO of Hard to Port commented; “This is an unacceptable tragedy that leaves people around the world speechless. It is very unfortunate that the reckless and irresponsible actions of a single individual stain the reputation of this progressive and beautiful country.”

Dr Marianne Rasmussen who heads Project Blue Whale at the University of Húsavík, which maintains a catalogue of 200 blue whales studied off Iceland, commented: “Based on the physical appearance and colouration of the lower jaw and baleen plates, it cannot be a fin whale. The mottled-grey colouration of the body points toward a blue whale, so the whale in question is either a blue whale or a blue/fin hybrid, genetics can confirm this.”

Blue whale experts globally have echoed Dr Rasmussen’s belief,  prompting WDC to contact Icelandic authorities, calling for urgent genetic testing to establish beyond doubt the species involved.

Valgerður Árnadóttir, leader of the Icelandic Vegetarian Society and founder of the group Stop Whaling in Iceland, expressed her utmost concern, saying: “Not only are they killing endangered fin whales but they could also have killed a blue whale: a species protected from hunting for over half a century. The whole business of whaling in Iceland reeks of corruption and there aren’t even any buyers for the meat. In 2016, they had to throw millions of dollars’ worth of whale meat away because it was not even fit for animal consumption.”

WDC is fighting to STOP whaling. DONATE and help.