Despite rumours that whaling in Iceland may not resume after it stopped in the last few years, the last remaining whaling company, Hvalur hf., has announced it will resume its hunt this summer. Hvalur last hunted whales in 2018, but its CEO Kristján Loftsson, who has become the lone champion of Icelandic whaling for many decades, is determined to not give up to international pressure and continue killing whales, even if it is not profitable anymore.
The nation’s tourism industry is devastated by this news. Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, the executive director of the Icelandic Tourist Board, said to CNN: “All you need do is look at how whaling is reported on in the foreign press…”It is often reported in larger publications with heated coverage… In the tourism industry, both in private companies and in public polls; in letters, phone calls, and in other communications, whaling has a very precise effect, and tourism companies feel it the moment whaling enters the discussion again.” Whale-watching operators and anti-whaling campaigners had joined forces and convinced the government to create exclusion zones near the coast where minke whaling was banned. That forced Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson, managing director of the Icelandic minke whaling company, to give up minke whaling. So the last whaling company left is Hvalur, which kills fin whales to export their meat to Japan.
Early in the year, there were many reports about the end of whaling in Iceland which came from the comments of Svandis Svavarsdottir, the Iceland Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. However, we reported that her comments might have been misinterpreted. It now seems that only a ban may stop Loftsson obsession with killing these magnificent mammals, but despite the fact most citizens and politicians are not supporting whaling anymore, the possibility of an actual ban is uncertain.