Iceland will skip whaling this year

REYKJAVIK (AFP) – No whales will be harpooned off the waters around Iceland this year, as the island nation’s two whaling companies have decided to abandon the summer whaling season for the first time in 17 years.

After considering whaling with only one boat in late June or early July, IP-Utgerd, which specialises in hunting minke whales, announced on Thursday it would abandon the summer season altogether.

Due to an extension of a no-fishing coastal zone, the boats would “have to go further offshore to hunt minke whales,” making it more expensive, the company’s General Manager Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson told AFP, adding that the company would instead focus on sea cucumbers.

Iceland’s only other whaling company Hvalur, which hunts larger fin whales, announced in early June that it was giving up on the 2019 season due to a lack of time to prepare its fleet.

According to local press reports, hunting permits, issued by the Icelandic government, came late this year.

CEO of Hvalur Kristjan Loftsson also pointed to difficulties in selling whale meat on the Japanese market, according to Icelandic broadcaster RUV.