Four fin whales were killed and processed at the Hvalstöðin whale station in Hvalfjörður, West Iceland, on Sunday.
The fin whale hunt is the first in two years and took place about three weeks after a coalition of groups—including the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Environmental Investigation Agency, Iruka & Kujira [Dolphin & Whale] Action Network, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation—revealed that whale products from Hvalur hf were ending up as dog treats in Japan, sparking international outcry.
Over one million people have signed the anti-whaling petition organized by the international group Avaaz to ban the transfer of Icelandic fin whale meat through Dutch ports amid revelations that some of it is used for dog food products in Japan.
Hvalur killed 148 fin whales in 2010, but none in 2011 and 2012 because of the breakdown of its only market in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami. Iceland plans to kill up to 180 fin whales this season.
The whales can weigh 40-70 tons and provides approximately 15 tons of meat. It will then be dispatched for further cutting, packing and freezing to facilities owned by Hvalur hf.
Fin whale meat from the previous commercial whale hunts in 2006, 2009 and 2010 were cut and boxed at a building that belongs to Hvalur-subsidiary HB Grandi, Iceland’s leading seafood company. The meat was then shipped to Japan.
Thousands have signed a petition to suspend seafood purchases from companies and suppliers who are fueling the whale slaughter in Iceland. The petition calls for the support from animal lovers, environmentalists and individuals to protect whales across the world. Other anti-whaling petitions also call for the support from animal lovers.
“Years of international diplomatic efforts have failed, and Iceland is determined to act as a rogue whaling nation, no matter the cost to this species, and to the country’s own tourism and seafood industries," said Susan Millward, Executive Director of Animal Welfare Institute.
Fin whales are the second largest after the blue whale and are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of threatened species.