WDC warmly welcomes the news that there will be no fin whaling in Iceland this summer, saving the lives of up to 184 endangered fin whales. Kristjan Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur hf, Iceland´s sole fin whaling company, made the announcement that no fin whaling will be happening in Icelandic waters for the second year running. The main reasons given are the endless obstacles within Japan relating to imports of whale products, which have particularly frustrated Loftsson, since Japan has long been his main outlet. Loftsson also cited the currently very strong Icelandic krona as a reason for increased uncertainty around profits from exports.
A record 155 fin whales were caught during the 2015 season, but last year’s hunt was cancelled due to import difficulties and it seems that despite attempts by Icelandic officials and experts to speak to their counterparts in Japan, the obstacles remain.
Last year, Loftsson complained bitterly about what he described as Japan’s unfair and antiquated methods for testing and analyzing meat.
Loftsson has stopped whaling in the past, only to resume once circumstances improved, so we should remain vigilant. It is important, also, that we don’t lose sight of the fact that the minke whaling persists: indeed the minke whalers have just announced that they will be going out as early as next month.