Endangered Blue Whale Illegally Slaughtered by Icelandic Whalers, Claim Activists
13 July, 2018, 17:42 | Author: Kelly Sanders
The last case of a blue whale being deliberately captured and killed was recorded 40 years ago off the coast of Spain.
Animal rights activists have responded angrily to the news that a commercial whale fishing company killed the blue whale, which the company itself claim was a hybrid of a blue whale and a fin whale, which they are legally allowed to kill.
Footage captured by Sea Shepherd showed workers of Kristjan Loftsson's company, Hvalur hf, posing with an unconfirmed species of whale that they killed.
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.
"To mistake a blue whale for a fin whale is impossible, this whale has all the characterisations of a fin whale in the ocean".
"I know a blue whale when I see one and this whale slaughtered by Kristján Loftsson [Hvalur's CEO] is a blue whale".
Since then, the significant weight of expert opinion, including CEO of The Blue Whale Study Dr Peter Gill, have agreed that the animal is most likely a blue whale, with a very small chance it may be a hybrid.
Gísli Arnór Víkingsson at the Iceland Marine Institute, said: "We heard about this odd whale straight away and an employee reports that it's in many ways similar to a hybrid which has been brought to us quite a lot recently which is unusual".
Although they are quite rare, a hybrid whale is a legal grey area, giving the whalers the option to say that they made a mistake.
"From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the coloration pattern - there is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea".
Sea Shepherd UK chief operating officer Robert Read demanded DNA samples be taken from the Hvalur 8's equipment, meat stocks, and storage to prove it illegally killed a blue whale.
The government of Iceland confirmed that "blue whales are protected under Icelandic law with their capture prohibited". Before the commercial whaling of the 20th century there were about quarter of a million blue whales.
"This bad incident comes as Japan is rumoured to be planning an attempt to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling, and clearly speaks to how utterly inappropriate it is for countries to even contemplate allowing a large-scale return to this grossly inhumane and haphazard industry".
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