Commercial whalers 'kill first blue whale in over 50 years'

James Marshall
July 12, 2018

The animal rights campaigners Hard To Port published photos of the whale landing in Hvalfjörður.

Humane Society International's Senior Marine Scientist, Mark Simmonds, said: "It looks very much as though Iceland has harpooned the first blue whale in over fifty years, and if that's the case then that's really horrifying news".

Sea Shepherd volunteers monitoring the Hvalur hf whaling station in Hvalfjordur, Iceland, claim to have documented the slaughter of an endangered Blue whale on the night of July 7.

'Loftsson ordered his crew to butcher the whale just like it was another Fin whale, ' the anti-whaling group claimed. Like fin whales, they are listed by the IUCN as endangered, and with an estimated global population of between 10,000 - 25,000 individuals.

Genetic sampling has been conducted to establish the species of the whale, with experts unable to rule out the possibility it could be a rare blue/fin whale hybrid.

During this year's season, Sea Shepherd said Hvalur hf had killed 22 whales.

"Photographs point to the fact that it's a hybrid whale and we're nearly certain that it is one, but we can't be sure until autumn when we get it DNA tested", he said, according to ABC News. "This should be a final wake-up call to Iceland that commercial whaling does not belong in the 21st century", she added.

An Icelandic whaling company has been accused of slaughtering an endangered blue whale in a "deplorable act", provoking anger and condemnation from the worldwide marine conservationist community.

The whale's carcass was seen being hauled in to the port by Hvalur 8 ship tied to the side of a vessel before it was dragged on to the dock.

'There is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea'.

Sea Shepard said it was the 22nd whale killed by Loftsson's outfit in the past three weeks, the other being endangered fin whales.

Photographs and video taken by the Sea Shepherd UK team near the whaling station allowed them to examine the species identifying indicators of skin color/pattern, baleen color, dorsal fin shape and tail stock. "Hybrids are not a protected species".

'This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating worldwide conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland.

"Iceland's whaling is rogue and archaic and should command diplomatic criticism at the highest levels". Before the commercial whaling of the 20th century there were about quarter of a million blue whales.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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