From Iceland — Whaling Company Applies For New Licence

Whaling Company Applies For New Licence

Published February 26, 2024

Photo by
Boris Niehaus/Hard To Port

Kristján Loftsson, owner Iceland’s one and only whaling company Hvalur hf, has applied for a new licence to hunt fin whales beginning in the summer of 2024. He’s seeking a licence for the next five to 10 years.

With their current licence expired, Hvalur has applied anew to the Ministry of Food, Fisheries and Agriculture and requested a speedy reply in order to make plans for the upcoming hunting season.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Svandís Svavarsdóttir announced in June 2023 that the 2023 hunting season would be postponed on account of the findings of a report from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST). A panel of animal welfare professionals was tasked by MAST to assess whether Iceland’s commercial whaling could meets the objectives of the law on animal welfare. It concluded that the methods employed in hunting large whales do not comply with the law.

Hvalur was permitted to resume their whaling season in September 2023, so long as they operated only during daylight hours and adhered to certain criteria set by MAST.

Summer of 2023 was marked by ongoing anti-whaling protests in Iceland and international calls for the Icelandic government to put an end to the practice.

While Svandís allowed Hvalur’s licence to lapse, an end of whaling has not been legislated.

Whaling is not a traditional practice in Iceland. It is only undertaken by Kristján’s company, which he operates at a financial loss due to there being little to no international market for whale meat.

If you are visiting Iceland, the Grapevine implores you to not order whale from the handful of restaurants that offer it as a menu item.

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