No whaling in Iceland for the time being until the end of August
Good news: Iceland has suspended the hunting of fin whales until the end of August 2023. The decision was made after a team of experts criticized that the fishing methods were not in line with Iceland’s Animal Welfare Act.
Animal welfare and whale hunting
According to an inspection report by the Veterinary Authority of Iceland, the killing of whales last year took too long. Based on the findings, an expert council on animal welfare considered whether whaling was legal at all under Iceland’s Animal Welfare Act. The expert council concluded that whale hunting and the Animal Welfare Act are not in harmony!
The future of whaling
Until animal welfare requirements are met, whaling has no future in Iceland, according to Fisheries Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir. The temporary ban could result in no more whales being hunted this year! The decision could also mean that Iceland will have to end whale hunting for good. The regular hunting season for whales begins in mid-June and lasts until September. In 2023, 148 fin whales were killed during the hunting season, although the giant marine mammals are considered endangered. However, because Iceland, like Japan, had entered reservations to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the two countries are allowed to trade whale meat among themselves. This is because Iceland is the largest exporter of whale meat, while Japan is the largest importer.
Giants of the sea
Fin whales are one of the largest whale species. They grow up to 25 meters long and can weigh between 40 and 80 tons, about as heavy as a truck crane! Thanks to extensive protection measures, the population of the whale species has almost doubled since the 1970s. Currently, the world population of the whale species is estimated at 100,000. Fin whales are found in most of the world’s oceans. They prefer nearshore waters, but can also venture into deeper areas of the seas. During the summer months, they often migrate to colder waters where they find abundant food. Fin whales are baleen whales and feed mainly on tiny crustaceans such as krill.
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