Endangered Blue Whale Illegally Slaughtered by Icelandic Whalers, Claim Activists

Port of the whale

"This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating worldwide conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland".

An Icelandic whaling company has been accused of deliberately killing an endangered blue whale - possibly the first in 40 years.

The organization says this is the 22nd endangered whale killed for export to Japan by Kristján Loftsson's commercial whaling company since June 20, 2018. Although an worldwide moratorium has placed catch limits at zero for blue whales, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation all objected to that provision.

Sea Shepherd UK's Chief Operating officer Robert Read demanded that DNA samples should be taken from from all the whale meat and parts in storage at Loftsson's whaling station and warehouses. "To mistake a blue whale for a fin whale is impossible, this whale has all the characterizations of a fin whale in the ocean".

Multiple experts who saw the photos said the whale was nearly certainly a blue whale, going by its colour, pattern, and fin and tail shape.

It claimed the animal showed all the features of a blue whale, including a "darker belly" and "bluish color".

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Dr. Phillip Clapham of the Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle studied images of the whale caught by Hvalur.

Although Iceland permits the slaughter of fin whales, they do not allow blue whales to be killed.

"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. There are a lot of blue whales off the Iceland coast, when we see the blows and sail to it, and we realize it is a blue and then we leave it and go and look for fin whales".

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who has spent over a half a century defending whales, appealed to Icelandic authorities to stop Loftsson "from ruthlessly violating worldwide conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland". One has not been slaughtered for more than 50 years. "We have never caught a blue whale in our waters since they were protected", he told CNN.

Like fin whales, they are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "endangered", with an estimated global population of between 10,000 and 25,000.

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