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Iceland will not hunt whales for the first time in 17 years this summer

Iceland will not hunt whales for the first time in 17 years this summer

  • Icelandic fishermen typically hunt minke whales and endangered common whales in the summer
  • But no whales are caught this year – the first time a whaling season has been skipped since 2003, when a temporary ban on killing the animals ended
  • Fisheries said the decline in Japanese demand for whale meat was behind the decision

Icelandic fishermen do not catch whales this summer – the first time in 17 years that a hunting season has been abandoned.

Fishermen on the island said that a collapse in demand for whale meat – especially in Japan – means there is no point in looking for the animals.

A small amount of dwarf meat is imported from Norway to meet domestic demand, but whalers will instead focus on harvesting sea urchins.

Icelandic whalers are not killing any of the animals this summer for the first time since 2003, after a collapse in demand for meat showed them the hunting season (stock)

Icelandic whalers are not killing any of the animals this summer for the first time since 2003, after a collapse in demand for meat showed them the hunting season (stock)

Kristján Loftsson, managing director of Hvals hf. – the only fishing on the island allowed to catch endangered whales – announced in the spring that his company would not fish this year.

Mr Loftsson said to the local TV station RUV that this was due to a collapse of the Japanese market making it difficult to sell the meat.

However, Ólafur Ólafsson – captain of the company's ship – told Stöð 2 that the real reason was because a permit was not granted on time.

After the announcement of Hval's, minke whalers soon followed their example and canceled their hunting season.

Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, owner of Dwarf Waffe IP operators, said he will fish sea urchins instead until September 1 instead.

The government-run Marine Research Institute also said it will not catch whales for research purposes, meaning that none will be killed in Iceland this summer.

The fall in demand comes after Japan re-started its commercial whale hunt for the first time in 31 years this week (photo)

The fall in demand comes after Japan re-started its commercial whale hunt for the first time in 31 years this week (photo)

The fall in demand comes after Japan re-started its commercial whale hunt for the first time in 31 years this week (photo)

It is the first time this has happened since 2003 – when a temporary ban on whaling was lifted to allow fishing for research purposes.

The law was revised in 2006 to enable whaling on a profit basis.

Despite the pause in whale hunting this year, Mr. Jonsson said he plans to return to the hunt for minke whale in the summer of 2020.

The drop in demand for imported whale meat from Japan comes after the country restarted its own commercial whaling for the first time in 31 years.

Five trawlers left early in the morning at Kushiro harbor and sailed back a few hours later with two minke whales.

Japan has been fishing for years under the guise of whale research, but the law changed this hunting season.

Minister says the quota for this year will be 227 whales – less than half of what was caught under the research quota.

. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news (t) japan

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