Iceland’s Biggest Whaling Companies Will Not Kill Any Whales This Year

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 28 Apr 2020 18:55
Iceland's Biggest Whaling Companies Will Not Kill Any Whales This YearPA Images

Iceland’s largest whaling companies have decided to not kill any whales this year, a move that will save over 100 of the mammals.

Minke, fin and sei whales are typically targeted in Icelandic waters with 152 of them in total being killed in 2018.


Whaling company IP-Utgerd has announced it is ceasing whaling altogether, while Hvalur hf – the largest whaling company in Iceland – has said it won’t be conducting any hunts for the second year running.

While the news is welcomed by many conservationists and activists, the reasoning behind the company’s decisions is due to financial reasons rather than ethical ones.

Sei WhalePA Images

Hvalur hf, which typically hunts fin whales, has stated it is postponing its hunts for the second year running because of the lack of demand for whale meat from Japan – its main buyer – as the country has started doing its own whaling.


The company also blamed the ongoing health crisis as detrimental to its business as it prevents its employees from hunting and processing the meat, as they would have to work in close proximity.

IP-Utgerd had encountered financial difficulties when no-fishing zones were extended off the Icelandic coast, meaning ships were having to venture further out.

Fin Whale National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Wikimedia

Whaling has been a controversial issue for decades, with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) stating it would ban all commercial whaling by 1986.


Many countries stopped whaling after the IWC’s ban, but Iceland resumed its commercial whaling activities in 2003.

The WWF reported that more than 31,000 whales have been killed by countries that continued whaling since the ban (also known as the moratorium) came into place.

whales oceanPixabay

According to Whales.org, 146 fin whales had been killed in Iceland by the end of the 2018 season, including at least two rare blue/fin whale hybrids, a dozen pregnant females, and six minke whales.


Last year was the first time in 17 years there hadn’t been any whale hunts in Iceland over the summer.

With both fin whales and sei whales classed as endangered, the news of the continued halt to Icelandic whaling may hopefully see an increase in their population.

The stopping of whaling successfully helped the blue whale bounce back from the brink of extinction following a drastic 97% reduction in their numbers.

Whale sharkPA Images

Blue whales were savagely hunted for years for their blubber, baleen and meat, which saw 176,000 killed in just 60 years. Back in February, however, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found an ‘unprecedented’ number of the whales in South Georgia.

Fingers crossed the lack of whaling taking place in Iceland will help restore the fin and sei whale populations.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Iceland, News, whales


Whales.org and 2 others
  1. Whales.org


  2. Grapevine.is

    For The First Time In 17 Years: Iceland Will Not Hunt Any Whales This Summer

  3. Mongabay.com

    Iceland won’t be killing any whales this year