One of the Hvalur whaling ships brought back a pregnant fin whale yesterday afternoon to the company’s whaling station in Hvalfjordur, Iceland. Outrageous – well, the whole whaling escapade is outrageous but this is even more so.
The first vigil of the newly formed Reykjavik Whale Save group took place last night outside the whaling station, so I took the opportunity to go there. They were still working, though I only got there at 9 p.m. The stench was unbearable at times – some of the 17 protestors were holding a scarf over their noses – and there was music blaring out from the whaling station, which was bizarre. Sea Shepherd UK protestors, who have been keeping up a constant vigil outside the plant, said that they always heard music from the plant.
Dani Rukin from the Save movement was at the vigil. She explained that the whale chapter in Iceland was the first Save group to concentrate on whales, as most of the groups vigil outside slaughterhouses and the like.
Frettabladid, one of the Icelandic newspapers, had a photo of the dead calf taken by a Hard to Port activist on their front page this morning and followed it up with a report on an inside page. The report said that it was not uncommon for pregnant whales to be killed, according to whaling specialist Gisli Vikingsson from the Marine Research Institute. It also quoted Hallgerdur Hauksdottir, the chair of Iceland’s animal welfare organization, who pointed out that it was illegal to shoot pregnant reindeer. The article also said that a report carried out for the Directorate of Fisheries by researchers from Norway on board one of Iceland’s whaling boats, on the length of time it takes for a whale to die, had been kept secret by the then-Fisheries Minister, Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson. But that isn’t entirely true, as I published the URL in a blog I wrote in 2015. Here is an excerpt from the report: Instantaneous death was recorded for 42 whales (84 %). The whales not instantly killed (8) were reshot with penthrite grenade. The median survival time for those whales was 8 minutes with the shortest survival time of 6.5 minutes and the longest survival time of 15 minutes.
Another protest group, Jardarvinir, pressed charges last week against Hvalur hf. over its killing of the hybrid whale.
One of the protestors last night said that the whaling station would be an interesting place to visit as a museum. Let’s hope this happens in the near future. I still think that when when the Hvalur 5-year licence runs out in September, it will not get renewed. For a start, there has been far too much unwelcome publicity and opposition this
Update: It turns out that this was not the first pregnant whale caught this season, as at least 6 others have been caught, one of which was caught yesterday (August 24). That boat also brought back what is considered to be another hybrid whale, though this will only be confirmed next week.