Fin whales are off the menu this year, but minke whale hunting will move forward as scheduled, hunters have vowed.
While Iceland’s largest whaling company, Hvalur hf., has announced they will not hunt endangered fin whales this year, this does not mean all whaling in Iceland has been called off. There are other, smaller whaling companies which hunt minke whales, and RÚV reports their plans for a summer hunt are still in the works.
“We intend to stick to our guns and keep going in the spring,” Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, the chairperson of the Society of Minke Whalers, told reporters. “The hunt maybe hasn’t gone as well as we would have chosen. We have been hunting about 30 [minke] whales a year, but we need about 50 to meet the demand.”
Gunnar also said that diminishing numbers of minke whales in their usual hunting waters did not mean a decline in the stock, but rather that the whales have moved to other waters.
Whether fin and minke whales, the practice of whaling has been met with growing opposition, both at home and abroad. The hacktivist movement Anonymous has gotten involved, with a persistent campaign against the hunting of fin whales which has shut down government websites for hours at a time. Anonymous has pledged that the cyber attacks will continue until whaling ends.
The domestic market for whale meat is so minuscule as to be non-existent, and public opinion has been increasingly against whaling as well. Today, most Icelanders are against the hunting of endangered fin whales, and only about 50% support the hunting of the more abundant minke whales.