No fin whaling in Iceland in 2019

Press Releases | 7 June 2019
A fin whale at the surface of the water.

REYKJAVIK, 7 June, 2019 – As media reported, harpoons previously trained on fin whales in Icelandic waters will not be brought out this summer.

In a media interview, one of the Whaling Boat Captains from Hvalur hf confirmed there were no fin whaling activities planned for this summer. Recent attempts of Hvalur hf, the only company involved in Icelandic fin whaling, to sell fin whale meat to Japan have stalled.

Internal pressure within Iceland to end whaling is mounting. The most recent Gallup polling commissioned by IFAW showed that a third of the Icelanders oppose fin whaling (33,2%) while another third remains undecided on that issue (29,7%).*

Patrick Ramage, IFAW’s Marine Conservation Programme Director, said: “We are very hopeful that the Icelandic Government use this hiatus to take a fresh look at its whaling policy. It is an opportunity for Iceland and Hvalur hf to leave this chapter behind and move forward to take a lead in protecting these whales and our planet.”

The whalers of Hvalur hf resumed fin whaling in 2009 and have killed 843 fin whales to date. 2019 is not the first year without fin whaling. There was no whaling of the second largest mammal on earth in Iceland in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017.

“Animals, people and coastal economies worldwide all do better when whales are hunted with cameras instead of harpoons,” Ramage added. “From Hokkaido to Husavik, people are choosing whale watching over whaling. Iceland’s pause on fin whaling, together with Japan’s withdrawal from high seas whaling earlier this year, signal the emerging global consensus for whale conservation rather than whale killing in the 21st Century. Norway will be next.”

Whale watching is one of the top tourist attractions in Iceland, generating over 20 million euros annually. More than 350,000 people go whale watching each year in Iceland, proving that whales are worth far more to the Icelandic economy alive than dead.

To support IFAW’s efforts to protect whales in Iceland, find out more about Meet Us Don’t Eat Us or to sign our whales petition visit www.ifaw.is

ENDS

For more information, images and footage, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Sigursteinn Masson at IFAW on mobile +354 863 8361
Andreas Dinkelmeyer at IFAW on mobile +49 173 622 7539 or email adinkelmeyer@ifaw.org.
Alternatively, please visit www.ifaw.org

Notes to Editors:

*This survey was carried out by Gallup between October 5 and 15, 2018, to survey Icelanders’ attitudes to whale hunting. It used a sample size of 1,408. The survey was carried out online across Iceland targeting only those aged 18 years and over randomly selected from Gallup’s Internet Panel. Total number of respondents was 789, with 619 not responding, giving a total response rate of 56.0%. Full results are available on request.

About IFAW

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.

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