The number of hunted whales is expected to rise compared to last year, RÚV reports. Whaler Gunnar Bergman Jónsson hopes to catch around 50 mink whales this summer—4 more than in 2016.
Summer, bloody summer
The uncooperative weather that has plagued the seas since the beginning of spring has meant that the hunting season has gotten off to a slow start. Only four animals have been caught so far. Nevertheless, hunting ships Rokkarinn and Hrafnreyður have in the past few days record a much greater whale activity than the fishermen had initially hoped for. Faxaflói, the hunters’ bay of choice when it comes to catching whales, seems to be especially populated this summer. “That’s where we mostly fish,” Gunnar told RÚV.
No endangered fin whales
Despite the hunting quota allowing whalers to catch as many as 269 animals this summer, only a small fraction gets utilised. According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, only 335 whales were caught in the Southwest of Iceland between 2007 and 2015—for an average of 41,9 a year. This year, however, seems to be a particularly profitable one for the industry which sells 65% of its product to local restaurants.
On the other hand, those who find eating whale to be a deplorable act will rejoice in knowing that Fin whales—which have been classified as an endangered species by the WWF—will not be hunted at all this year. However, far from being sentimental, the decision was taken by Icelandic fishing company Hvalur, after realising how difficult it was to export fin whale products to the Japanese market. At least you can count on Iceland for being coherent, once in a while.
But should you want to taste the gentle giants, we recommend checking out Steikhúsið.