Icelandic whalers accused of killing rare blue whale

13 July, 2018, 06:25 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Blue Whale carcass

In 1986, several countries signed up to an agreement drawn up by the International Whaling Commission to stop all whaling activities.

Sea Shepherd, an worldwide anti-whaling organization, condemned the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf on July 11, claiming they illegally slaughtered an endangered blue whale.

Speaking to CNN, professor of biology Adam A.Peck at the University of Hawaii says that the whale hunted by Hvalur hf on Saturday night is a blue whale and not a hybrid blue/ fin whale as believed by Icelandic experts.

The whale has been positively identified by experts as a blue whale, according to Sea Shepherd.

Kristjan Loftsson, the managing director of Hvalur, said he was certain it was not a blue whale. If confirmed to be a blue whale, it would be the first detected harpooning in about 50 years.

Sea Shepherd UK's Chief Operating officer Robert Read demanded that DNA samples should be taken from from all the whale meat and parts in storage at Loftsson's whaling station and warehouses. "When you approach a blue whale, it's so distinct that you leave it alone". He told the Sydney Morning Herald the whale did not have "any characteristics" to suggest it was a hybrid. HSI noted the features of a blue whale are a darker belly, all black baleen and bluish colour.

The Hvalur 8 bringing in slaughtered whales.

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Heart-breaking photos have emerged appearing to show that hunters in Iceland killing a rare blue whale, which are protected after they almost became extinct due to commercial whaling.

"The killing of such a majestic creature, blue whale or hybrid, represents a significant crime against nature, given the rarity of these species and the threats to their survival today".

"I have viewed plenty of blue whales on the surface, dived with them beneath the surface in West Australia, off the coast of California, in the Southern Ocean and in the waters off Newfoundland", he said.

"Iceland's whaling is rogue and archaic and should command diplomatic criticism at the highest levels".

Sea Shepherd has had crew on the ground since the slaughter of whales began on June 20.

Humane Society International senior marine scientist Mark Simmonds also believed it was a juvenile blue whale or a rare fin whale-blue whale hybrid. Prior to the catastrophic commercial whaling of the 20 century it is estimated that there were in the region of a quarter of a million blue whales, but their populations crashed in the 1950s and 60s.

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