How Long It Takes A Whale To Die Kept Secret

How Long It Takes A Whale To Die Kept Secret

Published July 3, 2014

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The results of ongoing research on how long it takes a fin or minke whale to die once harpooned will not be made public, the Minister of Fisheries has confirmed.

In response to a question posed by Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakóbsdóttir, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson confirmed that an investigation on whaling practices, conducted in part by a Norwegian veterinarian, will be held for six to eight weeks this summer in Iceland. Upon completion, the investigation’s findings will then be submitted to the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) for review.

Amongst the data points to be studied in the course of this investigation is how long it takes a fin whale or minke whale to die once harpooned by Icelandic whalers. However, this data will not be made available to the general public.

While the minister did not elaborate on the specific reasons for the secrecy at the time, last December Left-Green MP Árni Þór Sigurðsson asked the minister if any studies had been conducted in Iceland on how long it takes minke whales and fin whales to die. The minister responded last February by saying that no such studies had been conducted in Iceland, adding that the discussion on whale hunting itself had a part to play.

“Despite the fact that the highest standards are set on whaling equipment, exceptional incidences will always arise,” the minister said in part. “In the discussion about whaling, such incidences are taken to be the norm rather than the exception. Such discussions have led to whaling countries not publishing any documents [on the length of time to death].”

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