Whalers harpoon and kill endangered blue whale - the first in 50 years

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Picture Sea Shepherd

An Icelandic company has been accused of harpooning and killing an endangered blue whale by an anti-whaling activist group.

Sea Shepherd claim that the Hvalur hf whaling station in Hvalfjordur killed and slaughtered the endangered animal, then posed with its body.

But others have suggested that the animal might be a hybrid of a blue whale and a smaller fin whale.

Sea Shepherd said, ‘There has not been a Blue whale harpooned by anyone for the last fifty years until this one harpooned by Hvalur 8.

‘Loftsson’s whaling station crew posed for photos next to and even on top of the whale in a sign they knew very well this was a rare Blue whale.

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‘Then Loftsson ordered his crew to butcher the whale just like it was another Fin whale – the meat, skin, blubber and bone all now mixed in with the Fin whales previously caught, which will make it difficult or impossible to locate during potential inspections by the authorities.’


Dr Phillip Clapham, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Centre said, ‘While I can’t entirely rule out the possibility that this is a hybrid, I don’t see any characteristics that would suggest that.

‘From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that – notably the coloration pattern – there is almost no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea.’