R/V Hrefna - Independent research on Icelandic whaling

For the 2016 whaling season, Hard To Port intends to take our Whaler Watching Campaign out to sea. We believe that our future sea based documentation of whaling activities can become a real game changer in the effort to put an end to commercial whaling in Iceland once and for all.

About the project

Exposing animal cruelty at sea

In a 2013 poll almost 60 percent of Icelanders expressed the belief that whaling operations in their country are conducted in a humane manner. While this is how the Icelandic whaling industry likes to portray its own operations, witness accounts of individuals who have experienced the killing of whales at sea (including some of Hard To Port’s own members) paint a very different picture. There are two factors that keep the “humane whaling myth” alive: For one, whaling operations occur far offshore where they are largely shielded from public scrutiny. Secondly, virtually all of the official data about the Icelandic whaling operations comes from the key players: namely the industry itself or its political allies in the Icelandic government. As such, public opinion about whaling in Iceland is very much shaped by those who have a vested economic interest in its continuation. We launched our Whaler Watching campaign with the aim of challenging the existing information monopoly that serves the interests of the whaling industry at the expense of the truth. In 2016 Hard To Port will up the ante and deploy a research vessel, the R/V Hrefna, to legally monitor and document whaling operations in their full brutal reality. (“Hrefna” is Icelandic for “minke whale,” which is one of the species that are hunted by Icelandic whalers.) We believe that the Icelandic public and the rest of the international community have a right to receive comprehensive and unrestricted information about this controversial industry and about the sad and disturbing fate of these iconic animals. We are confident that as we make our uncensored information more widely available, more people will join the call to end whaling in Iceland.

Education is the key to change

During the first phase of our Whaler Watching Campaign our team had the opportunity to talk to many Icelanders. We greatly appreciate the constructive exchange of opinions and information. As much as we are opposed to the cruel killing of these fascinating animals, we try to approach everyone with the same amount of respect, regardless of his or her opinion on whaling. We understand that to some Icelanders the issue of commercial whaling is a very sensitive topic. In addition to allowing us to take our Whaler Watching campaign out to sea, the R/V Hrefna will also serve as a contact point and discussion forum where people can argue and debate their views. We will make sure that everyone, regardless of their views on whaling, is allowed to express their opinion, provided that all available information, evidence and footage is on the table.

Working with local communities and businesses

Collaboration and cooperation play a central role in our efforts to protect the whales in Iceland. Although the Icelandic government likes to portray the whaling industry as a national industry, many Icelanders are in fact highly critical if not outright opposed to commercial whaling. By working with local businesses and individuals who share our concern for the well-being of these fascinating animals, Hard To Port is building a strong and diverse coalition of voices who collectively speak out against whaling.

How you can help us

  • Spread the word


    Social media is a great way to spread the word about our young organization and our efforts to protect the whales in Iceland. Connect with us to keep in touch and stay informed about our ongoing work and progress. We invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and to share and/or re-tweet our posts. Check us out on Vimeo, Instagram and Flickr for photos and videos from our 2015 campaign. We look forward to connecting with you!


  • Help with equipment


    For our the second phase of our Whaler Watching Campaign we will be looking to procure additional equipment. If you happen to own one of the following items on our ‘wish list’ and you want to donate it to support our cause, please get in touch with us.

  • Help us financially


    The success of our work to protect marine wildlife in Iceland depends greatly on the generosity of our supporters. To realize our ambitious plans in the 2016 whaling season our organization will need some serious financial help. If you want to help us make the next chapter of our Whaler Watching campaign an even bigger success than the last one, please consider making a donation to our organization. Every support is very much appreciated.

For any other form of support, please get in touch with us at support@hardtoport.org.  We look forward to hearing from you!