In news that is sure to see animal lovers around the world rejoice, commercial whaling in Iceland is about to be shut down completely. While there may only be one company left in Iceland to catch and kill whales, it has caused uproar from environmentalists and charities such as Green Peace. Luckily, that is all about to change. If only for a little while.
There is only one company in Iceland that does whaling commercially, and that is Hvalur. The company specialises in commercial fin whaling but has shocked many by announcing that this summer, they will not be hunting any whales, commercially or otherwise. The reason for the decision? The regulatory standards set by Japan, where Hvalur’s primary market is based. They have been tightened massively by whale meat testing officials, and this has forced the hunt for summer 2016 to be called off. While this is excellent news for environmentalists and Green Peace and the likes, unfortunately, it is only a temporary decision. Following the company’s previous two-year break in 2013, it can be expected that the company will resume whaling as normal in the future.
Iceland has already admitted that the primary interest in the hunting of whales is for commercial reasons. In the same year this statement was made, Hvalur hunted and killed more whales for commercial reasons than has ever been recorded in whale hunt history, murdering 148 fin whales and 60 minke whales.
Why Does Commercial Whaling Still Exist?
If these numbers don’t shock you, maybe this statistic will; a mere 2% of the population in Iceland eat whale meat. So why all the unnecessary hunting? As mentioned previously, Hvalur’s biggest and main market is in Japan, where whale meat is pined after for luxury meals and sushi dishes. However, with Japanese standards being adjusted, it has been said that Hvalur will no longer be able to hunt down whales purely for the Japanese market. It may also shock you to learn that many restaurants in Iceland serve whale meat exclusively for the tourists. In fact, more people visiting Iceland tuck into this ‘delicacy’ than the locals. So, the next time you plan a visit to this country make sure you avoid dining on this protected animal.
Fin whales are actually listed as an endangered species, and so Iceland’s hunting of them violates a truce on commercial whaling that was set in place by the International Whaling Committee back in 1986. However, Iceland never actually signed this truce because membership to the International Whaling Committee is voluntary, and so they can not intervene to prevent Iceland from hunting these endangered species.
If less and less people choose to eat whale meat, then commercial whaling could become a thing of the past. It’s down to those in Japan – and the tourists of Iceland – to try and crack down on this delicacy. If they can, then perhaps there will be no more endangerment for the beautiful and regal Fin whales.