Following on from the news that Iceland’s fin whaling vessels will not be leaving port this season to begin their annual hunts, it seems Iceland’s only minke whaling company is ending its hunts for good.
Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, managing director of Icelandic company IP-Utgerd, which specializes in hunting minke whales, has told media that it was no longer profitable to hunt for the whales in Icelandic waters.
"I'm never going to hunt whales again, I'm stopping for good," Jonsson said.
The news represents a great success for WDC’s years of campaigning to stop whaling in Iceland and other nations across the globe.
Last week Kristian Loftsson, the owner of Iceland’s only fin whaling company, said that the fin whale hunts will not take place this season due to tough market conditions in Japan. However, whale meat popularity has been falling in Iceland, and commercial whaling has only survived because of government subsidies using taxpayers’ money to keep fleets afloat.
WDC CEO, Chris Butler-Stroud said, ‘This is tremendous news. It is also a turning point for Iceland and its people and something that WDC has campaigned for for years. An end to minke whaling, and the end in sight for fin whaling, gives Iceland the chance to position itself as the true green island of the North Atlantic. The country can now build a new reputation for itself as one of the best places in the world to watch whales and as host to the first ever sanctuary for formerly captive whales. WDC looks forward to continuing to work with Icelanders and celebrating a new ethical and sustainable relationship with whales and dolphins, one that values them alive.’
Contrary to popular belief, whale meat is not a traditional dish and local people rarely eat it. A 2016 survey revealed that only 1.5% of the population regularly purchases whale meat. Most of the minke whale catch is served in restaurants to tourists.