In a significant win for cetaceans, the government of Iceland has not issued a permit to allow Hvalur Hf to hunt fin whales this year, sparing over 150 whales from slaughter.
The Fisheries Minister published regulations setting whaling quotas in February but did not actually issue the permit to Hvalur allowing it to use the quota.
Sea Shepherd closely monitored Hvalur’s activities in 2018, documenting the death of at least 146 whales, including two rare blue/fin hybrid whales as well as 21 pregnant whales.
During the 2018 season and in past years, the whaling company has violated numerous regulations – all of which have now been brought to the attention of the Icelandic government.
The Icelandic government has also been made aware of a new scientific study, indicating its whaling quotas are based on grossly overestimated whale population assessments.
Reached in New York, on World Ocean’s Day, Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson proclaimed, “Sea Shepherd has an enduring commitment to defending whales.
Our primary objective is 100% eradication of the barbaric practice of murdering whales by anyone, anywhere, for any reason.”
Hvalur Hf, is currently under investigation for violating animal welfare and sanitation regulations as well as deliberately failing to provide whaling logs to Icelandic fishing authorities in contravention of the whaling regulations, among other infringements.
Unfortunately, the government of Iceland has been slow to review and penalize Hvalur for its transgressions, forcing interest groups to submit a petition to the Icelandic Althing Ombudsman (an agency action oversight body that conducts Mueller-type investigations) to open an investigation into the administrative failures of the Icelandic government in adequately policing whaling.
The Icelandic government is not at liberty to issue any permits to Hvalur Hf until all ongoing legal matters surrounding the company’s whaling activities are resolved.
“Given Hvalur’s long history of violations, the fact that whaling is an inhumane and archaic practice that most Icelanders oppose, and the fact Fin whales are protected under CITES, it would be unconscionable and reckless for the Icelandic government to ever issue fin whaling permits again” stated Captain Lockhart Maclean, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Marine Operations.
Sea Shepherd has been actively opposed to Icelandic whaling for over 30 years, including
successfully shutting down Hvalur’s illegal whaling operations for 17 years with the sinking of half its fleet in 1986.
Sea Shepherd’s interceptor vessel, the M/V Brigitte Bardot will be departing Halifax, Canada, for Iceland this week to monitor a planned commercial minke whale hunt, scheduled to take place later in June on board the whaling vessel Hrafnreydur, a non Hvalur owned vessel, which slaughtered six minke whales last summer.
This article was first published by Sea Shepherd News on 10 June 2019.
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