The whaling fleet Hvalur hf. will resume commercial hunting of fin whales this summer after a two year break, company director Kristján Loftsson confirmed to Vísir last week. According to Kristján, his company will begin whaling in early June and continue until the end of September. Two boats, Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9, and 150 workers will see to the operation. The company has a yearly quota to hunt between 150-170 fin whales, which are listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List. Commercial whaling was revived in Iceland in 2009 when Einar K. Guðfinnsson, then Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture passed a controversial law granting whaling vessels to hunt fin and minke whales for the next five years. The current license thus expires at the end of the 2013 season. The key market for whale caught in Icelandic waters is Japan, where some 2000 tons of whale meat was exported between 2008-2011. During the following two years, Hvalur hf. suspended its operations at sea due to a decline in Japanese demand after the 2011 Tsunami. While Kristján claims the demand for whale meat is now again on the rise in Japan, he does not say how much he expects to sell. In 2010 Hvalur hf. is reported to have killed 150 fin whales. Animal welfare and conservation groups have expressed concern over Iceland’s most recent disregard for the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) ban on commercial whaling, Animal Connection reports. They are urging European and US leaders to impose tougher diplomatic sanctions on Iceland for persisting to hunt the endangered fin whale. A representative of Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) maintains that Iceland’s hunting of whales is unnecessary and cruel not least because few Icelanders regularly consume the minke whale that is sold domestically. She claims it is mostly sold as a novelty to tourists.
Acclaimed British film director Mike Leigh has been announced as the Guest of Honour at this year’s Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF), reports RÚV. His newest film Mr. Turner, about the English painter J. M. W. Turner will be screened at the festival which begins on September 25 and runs until October 5. Leigh, who is not short of awards, will add yet another to his collection when he is bestowed a lifetime achievement award for contributions to cinema by Iceland’s President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. “Mike Leigh has been one of Europe’s leading directors for 25 years and among the best
Yesterday’s volcanic eruption at Holuhraun lasted only 3-4 hours and the aviation code has been downgraded to orange. “It was a small eruption and a small sample of the magma that is moving underground reaching the surface,” geophysics professor Páll Einarsson told RÚV. According to Páll and geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson the eruption was more like an accident and a departure from what was expected. “The magma intrusion strayed unnecessarily close to the surface and some magma came out,” said Páll. Additionally, the Met Office has downgraded the aviation alert from red to orange and the no-fly zone has been reduced
ISAVIA has imposed a no-fly zone over the Holuhraun eruption site and a parts of northeastern Iceland. In a brief posted to their website, ISAVIA, who control and run Iceland’s airports, have stated that it is unclear how much ash is likely to be produced. Contingency plans in the event of disruptive ash production are in place. Reykjavík’s Air Traffic Control Centre, in cooperation with the Icelandic Met Office has mapped out a no-fly zone over and around the Holuhraun volcanic eruption. UPDATE: The previous no-fly zone (pictured above), used to include Akureyri Airport but the reevaluated no-fly zone is smaller. Akureyri airport is
The Icelandic Met Office has confirmed an eruption has started in Holuhraun, north of Dyngjujökull. This is further backed up by the Míla live-feed where the eruption is visible in the distance. According to Iceland’s Civil Protection Authority the lava is making its way to the surface through a 100 metre long fissure with low lava fountains with thin flowing lava. The eruption site is located in an area devoid of ice meaning that the flood risk for North Iceland is so far minimal.
The Icelandic Coast Guard rescued a whale that had been caught in netting, with the whole event record on video. A statement from the Icelandic Coast Guard announces that they received a call yesterday morning of a whale near Skagafjörður that had reportedly gotten caught in some fishing netting. The whale had attempted to free itself, but a rope from the net was entangled around its tail, and it was swimming not far from shore. A local sailor had attempted to free the netting from the whale himself, but the hook he was using was smacked from his hand by
The Head Cheiftain of the Ásatrú Society says neo-Nazis have attempted to co-opt the pagan faith – a practice the society utterly disavows. “We strongly oppose any attempt by individuals to use their association with the Ásatrúarfélagið of Iceland to promote attitudes, ideologies and practices rejected by the leadership of the Ásatrúarfélagið. We particularly reject the use of Ásatrú as a justification for supremacy ideology, militarism and animal sacrifice,” a statement the religious order posted on their website in English reads in part. “It should also be known that visitors have no authority to speak on our behalf. There is