POLL: Should Iceland be sanctioned for continuing to slaughter whales?

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’s lone company’s ongoing defiance of an international ban on commercial is outrageous and offence enough as it continues to target fin and minke whales, but now it’s reached a new low after having illegally slaughtered the first in decades.

After a two year break from whaling, Hvalur hf announced earlier this spring that it would resume this year with a record-high quota that could reach 238 endangered fin whales, making it the only nation in the world to target this .

Since it started in June, 21 fin whales have already become victims of the company’s exploding harpoons, but now it’s under fire for slaughtering an endangered blue whale who is believed to be the first killed in 50 years.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

This crime was exposed thanks to Sea Shepherd volunteers who were monitoring the Hvalur hf whaling, who captured photos and videos that made it possible to make the identification.

Experts consulted acknowledged that it could be a blue/ hybrid, but it’s not likely. According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Icelandic authorities have confirmed that five hybrids have been identified by researchers since 1986 around Iceland, but four of them were killed by whalers.

“While I can’t entirely rule out the possibility that this is a hybrid, I don’t see any characteristics that would suggest that. From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that – notably the coloration pattern – there is almost no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea,” said Dr. Phillip Clapham, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

While the whale was butchered and removed from sight, there still a possibility that any questions about whether this was a blue whale can be confirmed by genetic testing, and both Sea Shepherd and WDC are calling for an investigation into the incident.

“The crime committed against this iconic whale must be fully investigated by independent inspectors with DNA samples taken from all the whale meat and parts in storage at Loftsson’s whaling station and warehouses since the whale has been butchered and removed from view potentially to hide the evidence as Loftsson has no authority (even within Iceland) to kill a Blue whale. In addition, environmental DNA samples should be taken from whaling station equipment, surfaces and containers to look for Blue whale DNA in case the butchered parts have been removed to hide this latest atrocity,” said Sea Shepherd UK’s Chief Operating officer Robert Read.

While the death of a blue whale at the hand of whalers is unquestionably tragic, the loss of hundreds of others, along with this company’s ongoing attempts to keep commercial whaling alive, are no less shameful. Anti-whaling advocates have continued to work to shut it down, and promote the country’s industry, which is far more valuable and sustainable, and hopefully this incident will help increase support.

This article was first published by Care2.com on 12 Jul 2018.


We invite you to share your opinion whether Iceland should be sanctioned for continuing to whales? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should Iceland be sanctioned for continuing to slaughter whales?

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop . By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.

 

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Arlene Steinberg
Arlene Steinberg

After reading a new, amazing book on the past, present and future of whales titled “Spying On Whales” written by a curator of the Smithsonian Museum, Nick Pyenson, I am more convinced than ever that ALL whaling should be immediately stopped, and we need to stop the disastrous actions to the smaller members of the whale family, like the dolphins, especially river dolphins, which we are driving extinct (i.e., The Yangtze River dolphin, which is gone after the only river where it lived in China was dammed and the Vaquita in Mexico, a bycatch victim of Totoaba fishing – there… Read more »

M Leybra
M Leybra

All very factual & true. To replace the sounds of the songs of these magnificent animals communicating beneath the surface of the sea, or the sight of them breaching the ocean’s surface… with whale steak, whale sashimi or cured whale flesh on a plate, is a sad legacy. But may be whale’s future & in turn spell the future for the growing billions of humanity. No nation has ever before sanctioned another on behalf of a non-human species & it’s doubtful that will ever happen, so it’s just wait & see how long these animals can survive under attack by… Read more »

Mary Shabbott
Mary Shabbott

YES, Iceland should be sanctioned for knowingly murdering critically endangered species! At the very least sanctioned.

Tonia Vassila

yES