Hvalur whaling boats Reykjavik

Whale season begins in Iceland with activists’ incident

The first whale kill of the 2015 season in Icelandic waters attracted the ire and intervention of activists, who followed the towed mammal into port lighting flares to draw attention to their campaign.

The traditional whaling season gets underway in defiance of an international whaling ban to which Iceland and Norway are not signatories, attracting the attention of eco-warriors such as the Sea Shepherd and splinter groups who were recently operating in the Faroe Islands to disrupt a similar activity.

The ‘Hard to Port’ group lit purple flares and one member climbed on top of the carcass with a banner that read #whalerwatching, recording the entire process of carving up the whale, posting it to social media and issuing the following statement:

“In 2013, the Icelandic government reissued whaling quotas for 154 endangered fin whales and 229 minke whales annually. That’s despite a 1986 ban on whaling by the International Whaling Commission”.

With a quota from the government totaling 383 whales, including fin whales, which aren’t classified as, endangered, two whaling boats left Hvalfjordur port on Sunday in search of whales.  Fin whales are listed as endangered.

Since the ban came into place in 1986, groups such as Greenpeace, and Sea Shepherd – led by the controversial conservation eco-warrior Paul Watson, have been spending summers in the North Atlantic trying to disrupt whaling, as they do in the Southern Ocean. Previously they were responsible for sinking two Icelandic fishing boats.