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Iceland suspends whaling

Shortly before the first ships left Iceland, the Icelandic government decided to temporarily stop fin whaling. The reason for this are doubts about the compatibility of hunting and animal welfare.

Whales may not be hunted off Iceland until August 31st. This was announced by the Icelandic Ministry of Food and Fisheries. There are doubts as to whether the hunt complies with the Icelandic Animal Welfare Act.

In the past hunting season, killing the animals took too long. This was the result of an inspection report by the veterinary authority, as reported by the Icelandic ministry. The review by an expert council on animal welfare concluded that the method of trapping large whales was not in accordance with the law.

All whaling suspended for 2023?

Fisheries Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir made it clear that whaling would have no future if the government and license holders could not guarantee animal welfare requirements. In view of the experts’ assessment, it was necessary to postpone the start of the whaling season, the ministry said.

The suspension of whaling could mean no whales at all around Iceland this year. A reason for hope for whale protectors: The decision could mark a crucial turning point to put a permanent end to Icelandic whaling. Normally the hunting season starts in mid-June and lasts until September.

A representative of the whaling company Hvalur recently told the magazine “Fiskifrettir” that if the weather cooperates, the hunting season will start on Wednesday.

Whale meat is exported to Japan

Iceland is one of the few countries in the world where whales can still be hunted. In 2022, 148 fin whales were caught. Almost all whale meat is exported to Japan, according to animal welfare organizations.

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