Iceland Mag

6 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


No great whales to be hunted in Iceland this year

By Staff

  • A fin whale Employees of the whaling station in Hvalfjörður fjord cut down a fin whale. Photo/Vilhelm

No great whales will be shot in Icelandic waters this year, the owner of the whaling firm Hvalur hf told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið. This is the second year in a row that the company suspends the hunting of great whales. Hvalur hf is the only whaling company in Iceland to hunt great whales. 


Kristján Loftsson The main owner of Hvalur hf and the main proponent of whaling in Iceland Photo/Anton Brink

Kristján Loftsson, the main owner of Hvalur, told Morgunblaðið that the main reasons for the decision were low prices for the products in Icelandic currency, thanks to a stronger króna, and difficulties in marketing whale products in Japan, the only export market for Icelandic whale products. Kristján complained that the company had met "endless obstacles" while trying to market its products in Japan.

Read more: Whaler baffled by the internet, dismisses an on-line petition with million signatures

In 2015, the last year in which great whales were hunted in Icelandic waters, Hvalur hf shot 155 fin whales. Some 150 people were employed in the whaling industry in 2015. Nearly all fin whale products are exported. The meat of minke whales, however, is almost exclusively consumed domestically. Much of it at local restaurants, buoyed by demand from foreign visitors.

Read more: More whale to be hunted this year, primarily to satisfy demand from foreign visitors

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