Icelandic minke whalers have landed their first catch of the season. The whale, which measured 9m in length and weighed 7 tons, was shot on May 9th outside the so-called ‘whale watch zone’ in Faxafloi Bay by whaling vessel Hafsteinn SK.
Iceland has self-allocated a ‘quota’ for 2013 of 229 minke whales (Iceland whales under objection to the IWC, the International whaling Commission, the body which regulates whaling). Gunnar Bergmann, the owner of Hafsteinn SK, says his company aims to hunt between 50 and 70 minke whales this year. Gunnar reportedly killed 52* minkes last year, but claims this still did not meet the demand of the domestic market.
Unfortunately, as WDC has publicised, much of the ‚demand‘ for whale meat within Iceland comes from tourists rather than locals. Tourists mistakenly believe that whale meat is just another ‘traditional’ Icelandic dish but instead, are helping to keep this cruel industry alive.
If you are visiting Iceland this year, please support the whale watch industry rather than the whalers: avoid supporting restaurants and outlets which profit from dead whales.
* The Visir article attached gives 53 minkes killed in 2012, but WDC is using the figure issued by Fiskistofa, Iceland’s Fishery Department. http://www.fiskistofa.is/media/utgefid_efni/Starfsskyrsla_2012_web.pdf