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Iceland licences five more years of commercial whaling

Published by FiskerForum, 21-02-2019 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Icelandic Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Kristján Thór Júlíusson has approved regulations licensing hunting of fin and minke whales between now and 2023, extending whaling for a further five-year period.

According to a Ministry statement, the decision is based on advice from the Institute of Marine Research, also taking into account a recent report by the University of Iceland’s Economic Unit on the implications for Iceland of commercial whaling.

The Institute of Marine Research has recommended an annual take of not more than 161 fin whales across the Eastern Greenland-Western Iceland sea area, a maximum of 48 fin whales in the Eastern Iceland-Faroe sea are and 217 minke whales to be taken on the Icelandic continental shelf.

The Institute in turn bases its advice on IWC models, and reports that since whale counts began in 1987, the fin whale population has increased steadily and was put at 37,000 animals across the central North Atlantic region following the 2015 count.

Minke whales abundance is judged to have declined considerably in Icelandic waters over the last two decades. While minke populations are not thought to have declined, their distribution is believed to have spread significantly northwards due to a lower availability of feed around Iceland during summer months, primarily sandeel and capelin.

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