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Tilikum, the father of Nakai. © Paul Wigmore

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Icelandic fin whale hunting to resume

Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur hf,  announced today that it will resume fin whaling on June 10th after a break of two years.

As many as 161 fin whales could be killed, and the tally may even reach over 200 fin whales if the whalers also decide to exploit a second quota of 48 fin whales to the east of Iceland [source Hafogvatn].  

The company is said to be ‘considering the possibilities’ of using dried whale meat extract in iron supplements for people suffering from anaemia. Hvalur says they have been collaborating with researchers at the Iceland Innovation Centre and the University of Iceland. The company is also reportedly considering using gelatine, extracted from whale bones and other whale products in “foods and medicines” and are citing this new marketing direction as justification for resuming the hunt of endangered fin whales for commercial purposes.


WDC has long campaigned against these hunts as both cruel and unnecessary, exposing the link between fin whaling and Iceland seafood giant, HB Grandi.  Our report, Whale for Sale, exposes the lengths the whalers will go to in order to offload their catch. Global demand for whale meat is declining: fin whale products are rarely consumed within Iceland and meat and blubber from fin whales killed to date has mostly been shipped to Japan. Hvalur hf CEO, Kristján Loftsson, has blamed what he terms ‘obsolete methods of analysing whale meat’ for his recent difficulties in getting his meat past Japanese customs and claims that this new business venture should prove an easier means of exporting fin whale products to Japan and elsewhere.

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