Whale Hunting Falling Behind, Whale Watching Thriving - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Whale Hunting Falling Behind, Whale Watching Thriving

Published July 7, 2017

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Hunters of minke whales have so far not been able to land very many whales at all, and they are not optimistic that they will even meet their quota. Meanwhile, at least one whale watching company is having a great deal of success with finding the animals.

Vísir reports that whale hunters in Faxaflói Bay, which surrounds Reykjavík, have so far only landed 11 minke whales. Although hunting season began at the end of April and beginning of May, the first whale was not landed until the second week of June.

“It depends on the weather and the wind, but both of our boats are out there now and haven’t caught anything,” whale hunter Gunnar Bergmann told reporters. “We are aiming for the same number of animals as last year, or 46. It’s not looking like we’ll make that by the end of the season, as a lot of things need to go right for that to happen.”

However, Grapevine contacted Elding, which conducts whale watching tours, also in Faxaflói Bay. According to the employee we spoke with, they have had a great deal of success spotting both minke whales and humpback whales. In fact, you can see on their whale diary on their home page that there are in fact frequent sightings of these creatures in the bay.

It bears mentioning that while both whale hunters and whale watchers operate in Faxaflói Bay, they tend to do so in separate areas of the water. As such, it may be possible that the whales are learning to avoid hunting areas of the bay and stay only in places where humans will merely observe and marvel at them, rather than harpoon them.

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