For The First Time In 17 Years: Iceland Will Not Hunt Any Whales This Summer - The Reykjavik Grapevine

For The First Time In 17 Years: Iceland Will Not Hunt Any Whales This Summer

Published June 27, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

The lack of any real market for whale meat has prompted Iceland’s whalers to forego the hunt this season, for the first time since 2003.

RÚV reports that this applies not only to endangered fin whales, but also to the far more plentiful minke whales.

Hvalur hf., the last company in Iceland that still hunts fin whales, already announced earlier this month that they would not be hunting fin whales this summer on account of getting their permit too late.

Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, a minke whaler and the CEO of whaling company IP Útgerð, said that his company would skip whaling to focus on sea cucumbers instead. The company will, however, import minke whale meat from Norway to meet what little demand there is in Iceland for it, and will likely begin hunting minke whales again in the spring of 2020.

This marks the first time since 2003 that a whaling season has passed without a hunt, when “scientific hunts” were launched. In 2006, Iceland took the decision to drop the pretense of research and engage in for-profit whaling. Since then, both international pressure, virtually no domestic market and a rapidly shrinking international market have all put the squeeze on whaling.

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