Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9, two whaling ships belonging to Hvalur hf, departed Reykjavík harbour yesterday evening en route for whaling grounds north-west of the country.
Hvalur hf, the whaling company belonging to wealthy businessman Kristján Loftsson, announced in May that they would resume hunting endangered fin whales this season and set their quota at 154 whales, with the option of killing another 20% that were not hunted last year, The Herald Sun reports. Hvalur also hunts minke whales and has killed seven since the hunt began in May.
Iceland’s whaling practices were made a political matter for the Netherlands recently, as an online petition urging the Dutch government to close its ports to ships transporting whale meat garnered more than one million signatures. In addition to the general negative sentiment directed toward the hunting of whales, the public was outraged at the revelation that the meat of endangered fin whales caught by Hvalur hf would be sent to Japan to be used in luxury dog treats. The company making said dog treats has said they will no longer use fin whale, having not realised how opposed the public would be to such an ingredient.