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WDC has has reacted strongly to comments given by Iceland’s leading whaler in an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times national newspaper, in which he states that he is using oil from endangered fin whales as a so-called ‘green biofuel’ to power his hunting ships.
Kristjan Loftsson, chief executive of Icelandic whaling company Hvalur, told the paper that his whaling vessels are being fuelled by whale oil (mixed with marine oil), with each boat using roughly the equivalent of the oil from one dead fin whale for each single day trip it makes. Ironically, he called those who oppose his actions ‘crazies’!
Responding to the strange claims that this is a ‘green biofuel’, WDC chief executive officer, Chris Butler-Stroud said: “We have known for a while that Icelandic whaling is no longer simply about feeding people. It is driven by the greed of a few individuals determined to try to make enormous amounts of money out of the practice, to the extent that they are even willing to use products from endangered whales to fuel their own ships’ engines in order to kill more whales.
“This is a completely absurd, perverse and unethical move by an industry that is already steeped in the blood of whales, and which is now prepared to use the remains of dead whales to keep its own vessels afloat.”
In 2011, Iceland’s total whaling was down from its 2010 peak of 148 fin whales and 60 minke whales. The collapse of the Japanese market for fin whale meat demonstrated the true commercial nature of Iceland’s industrial whaling as greatly reduced demand from Japan – a country which prizes fin whale meat – led to no hunt taking place. However, in the interview, Loftsson stated that he intends to resume fin whaling soon.
With up to 40% of the domestic consumption of whale meat now being made up of unsuspecting tourists, the real market for the meat within the Icelandic community continues to decline.
Since the ban on commercial whaling (hunting for commercial profit) was introduced in 1986 by the body that regulates whaling – the IWC (International Whaling Commission), over 30,000 whales have been killed because of loopholes that have allowed some countries to carry on hunting.