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Iceland Hunts 1st Fin Whale of Season Bound for Japan

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Hunters in Iceland have caught the first fin whale of the season after whale hunting resumed in the country on September 1. The whale’s meat is set to be exported to Japan.

The country’s only whaling company, Hvalur, hauled a fin whale into a port near the capital, Reykjavik, on Friday. The company says most of the whale meat processed there will be exported to Japan.

Iceland had suspended whaling until last year because it was deemed unprofitable, among other reasons. But it took up the hunt again on condition that Japanese companies buy all the whales Hvalur catches.
Last season, the meat of about 150 whales was exported to Japan.

Iceland is one of three countries in the world, along with Japan and Norway, that allows commercial whaling.

Iceland’s government delayed the scheduled June start of this year’s whaling season due to animal welfare concerns. Officials ordered that equipment be upgraded and methods of catching the whales be improved to lessen the suffering of the animals.

Anti-whaling activists have also staged protests in the country. Two of them infiltrated whaling vessels before they set sail and stayed up in their masts for two days. They were later arrested by police.
Hvalur President Kristjan Loftsson told NHK no whales would be caught if their numbers were too low. But he said taking 160 fin whales from a stock of 40,000 around Iceland is a sustainable catch rate.

Source: NHK World

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