Dead fin whale being processed in a whaling factory, Reykjavik, Iceland

EIA calls on Iceland’s Prime Minister to halt the resumption of whale slaughter this summer

EIA has urged the Prime Minister of Iceland to intervene and prevent the resumption of commercial whaling in the country after a three-year hiatus.

In the past, the slaughter of fin and minke whales has been spearheaded by multi-millionaire rogue whaler Kristján Loftsson and his company Hvalur hf.

His fleet’s harpoons have sat silent for the past three whaling seasons, citing trade concerns and the global COVID pandemic, despite annual quotas for 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales for the period 2019-23.

But last month, Loftsson announced his intention to resume the slaughter, stating: “The whales are waiting for us”.

EIA Ocean Campaigns Leader Clare Perry said: “It’s utterly wrong that one individual can fly in the face of world opinion to vindictively hunt and kill these magnificent creatures at a time when the need to protect the great whales is clearer than ever.”

In a personal letter today (7 April), she urged Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir to put a stop to the plan.

EIA has advocated an end to the Icelandic fin whale hunt for more than a decade, specifically focused on Loftsson’s crusade to open up fin whaling.

In 2011, we exposed how Loftsson had set up an import company in Japan to import fin whale products, despite the lack of demand for whale meat.

And two years later, we revealed how Icelandic fin whale products were being used to manufacture pet treats, turning the meat of fin whales – the second largest animal on the planet and threatened with global extinction – into dog waste on the sidewalks of Japan.

Fin whale being cut up by workers at a whaling station with a number of onlookersEIA’s investigations in both Iceland and Japan have revealed that it is only through its low price, bankrolled by Loftsson, that his products can compete with Japanese whale meat.

In her letter to PM Jakobsdóttir, Perry stated: “We had hoped, after a three-year reprieve, that commercial whaling in Iceland was over for good. Fin whales are protected by the global moratorium on commercial whaling, which was agreed in 1982, including, at that time, by Iceland.

“Whales are one of nature’s solution to climate change. Each great whale sequesters 33 tonnes of carbon dioxide during its lifetime, taking that carbon out of the atmosphere for centuries. Based on this, and their other economic contributions such as ecotourism, the International Monetary Fund has calculated the worth of each whale through its life to be more than $2 million.

“How can Iceland continue to allow one company to submit as many as 251 of these incredible animals to an extremely painful death in order to export the meat products to a wealthy country on the other side of the world, where there is not even any real demand for the meat?

“You have referred to the advantages of being a small country, stating that ‘You can do things bigger and faster. You can actually change everything in a very short time’. Please change this situation and stop commercial whaling in Iceland once and for all.”