From Iceland — Hvalur May Have Killed Another Rare Hybrid Whale

Hvalur May Have Killed Another Rare Hybrid Whale

Published August 27, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Arne Feuher

It appears as though Hvalur hf., the last company in Iceland to still hunt endangered fin whales, may have killed another blue whale and fin whale hybrid last Friday.

Fréttablaðið reports that a representative of the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute was present at the Hvalfjörður whaling station when the whale was brought to land, and immediately filed a report to have the animal tested.

According to a statement from the institute, samples from the animal will be brought into their lab for genetic testing. Results are expected at some point this week.

Hvalur hf. had previously killed a blue-fin hybrid last July, drawing international attention and condemnation. Hunting endangered blue whales is flat-out illegal, even by Icelandic law. Any company that killed a blue whale would have their operations grounded immediately, and it could result in additional penalties. However, hunting a hybrid of a blue and another whale is perfectly legal by Icelandic law, even if the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) expressly forbids the practice.

In addition, anti-whaling activists Hard To Port, who have been actively surveying the Hvalfjörður station throughout the season, reported that Hvalur hf. had killed another pregnant fin whale and its unborn calf, not even week after doing the same thing before.

“These whale killings are unnecessary,” the organisation said in a statement. “There is no demand for this meat in Iceland, and it is forbidden to export meat from hybrid whales to Japan. The carcasses of these unborn calves will be disposed of.”

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