Iceland Will Not Be Killing Any Whales This Year
Whaling in Iceland will not go ahead this year, with one company saying it would never take part again.
Whaling company IP-Utgerd announced earlier this week it would be hanging up its harpoons due to financial difficulties caused by the extensions of 'no-fishing zones' around the Icelandic coast, Mongabay reports.
IP-Utgerd, which specialises in minke whaling, said it was no longer 'financially viable' to hunt in Icelandic waters.
Managing director Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson told AFP: "I'm never going to hunt whales again, I'm stopping for good."
Meanwhile, another company called Hvalur is also taking a break, for the second year in a row, because of tough competition from Japanese whalers.
CEO Kristján Loftsson also said the coronavirus outbreak would make it extremely difficult for his staff to work as they are in such close proximity.
Loftsson said most of its whale meat is sold to Japan, but that his company currently can't compete with the country's own whale meat industry which is subsidised by the Japanese government.
Meanwhile, social distancing regulations make it 'extremely difficult, if not impossible' due to the fact the workers are in close contact with each other, according to the Icelandic Review.
He said whale meat could potentially be used as 'an iron-rich dietary supplement for anaemia patients' as well as using their bones and blubber for gelatin productions.
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As you can imagine, the news has been welcomed by animal right's campaigners with one hoping it leads to an end for the practice.
Fabienne McLellan, co-director of international relations at Ocean Care, told Mongabay: "This is indeed terrific news that for a second straight year, vulnerable fin whales will get a reprieve from Hvalur hf's harpoons, the sole fin whaling company.
"This said, fin whaling has been suspended in Iceland in the past, only to resume. While it looks promising that whaling in Iceland might stop for good, the temporary cessation of fin whaling must become permanent."
However, Arne Feuerhahn, founder of Hard to Port, warned the news outlet that whaling could pick up again next year.
He said: "We're celebrating the moment that there's not going to be any whaling, but we're also aware of the possibility that they're going to resume next year.
"We have to look at the past, and I know that with fin whaling, Iceland sometimes takes a pause for two years.
"It's a family business and he [Loftsson] wants to keep it alive, so despite all the problems with the Japanese market, and the problems in Iceland with the [Covid-19] guidelines, he might come up with a solution for it, and we could go back to whaling in 2021."
Featured Image Credit: Hard to Port