Iceland’s minke whalers have announced their interest in hunting humpback whales for ‘scientific research’. Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, director of the Minke Whalers’ Association, has declared his company’s interest in such a move, whilst Sverrir Daniel Halldorsson, whale expert at HAFRO (the government institute responsible for conducting ‘research’ into Iceland’s marine resources and setting ‘sustainable’ catch levels), said that it makes sense to allow the hunts, which could be accompanied by population surveys and other research. The whalers want to take ten humpbacks a year over five years, with results used to inform future hunts.
The minke whalers have found it hard to locate sufficient whales this season and have incurred heavy financial losses. By contrast, they say that humpback numbers have increased dramatically, especially to the north.
WDC says: Humpback whales have not been killed in Icelandic waters for around 60 years. Whilst a few are taken in indigenous hunts elsewhere, this species is not hunted either commercially or for scientific purposes anywhere else in the world. Humpbacks are protected by international conventions and there is no doubt that Iceland will face a barrage of international criticism, should it sanction such a hunt.