After whaling in Iceland was stopped for several weeks, the hunt for the large marine mammals is permitted again under strict conditions. This was announced by the Icelandic Ministry of Food and Fisheries.
A group of experts came to the conclusion in a report that it was possible to improve fishing methods when hunting large whales. The Ministry is therefore of the opinion that changes in methods can contribute to higher animal welfare. A regulation should now show detailed and stricter requirements, for example for the fishing equipment and for the supervision of the practice.
Whales can be hunted again
This means that Icelandic whalers can hunt the animals again from Friday. Food and Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir put a stop to them in June, just before the first ships left for this year's hunting season, by deciding to temporarily suspend whaling until August 31. Svavarsdóttir justified the step at the time with doubts as to whether the hunt for marine mammals is compatible with animal welfare. According to an inspection report by the Icelandic Veterinary Authority, killing the animals last season took longer than allowed.
The North Atlantic island of Iceland is one of the few countries in the world where whales are still commercially hunted. Icelandic politics had been debating the issue, sometimes heatedly, since the temporary stop. At the same time, rejection of the practice grew among the population, as the Icelandic broadcaster RÚV reported on the basis of surveys. The current license for hunting marine mammals is valid until the end of the year.
According to animal rights activists, hunting whales is never humane
Whale conservationists had hoped that Svavarsdóttir's decision in June could put a permanent end to Icelandic whaling. "We are deeply disappointed by the Icelandic government's decision to allow whaling again after the temporary ban," said Astrid Fuchs of the whale and dolphin protection organization WDC. Hunting whales can never be humane, she complained. "We will keep fighting until the cruel killing is over."
Even Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently took up the topic. "The Icelandic government should support the will of the majority of Icelanders who now want to stop whale hunting forever," the "Titanic" star wrote on Tuesday on his Instagram Story, where he is followed by over 60 million people - marking his 150th anniversary -fold the entire population of Iceland.