Long-awaited whaling report released

The whaling report of the 2022 fin whaling season has been released and its results have sparked outrage in Iceland and abroad.

Last Monday the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) released a statement and short summary of the long-awaited report on their website. The results of on-board monitoring of the catch of 58 fin whales between 24 August – 28 September 2022 revealed that:

35 (59%) whales died instantly according to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) definition ofwhen a whale is considered dead during whaling.

In addition, five whales that exhibited convulsions are believed to have lost consciousness immediately or very quickly, and therefore it is estimated that 67 % of the whales died or lost consciousness quickly or immediately.

14 whales (24%) were shot more than once.

Two whales had to be shot four times, killing one whale took almost an hour and the other two hours. (Some of the footage of this particular case has been published in Icelandic media.)

The median time from first shot to death of non-immediately killed whales was 11.5 minutes.

One whale with a harpoon in its back was chased for 5 hours without success.

The Food and Veterinary Authority stated that the fin whale hunt does not comply with the objectives of the Icelandic Animal Welfare Act.

(Short summary taken from the MAST news release)

Whaling station staff remove the lower jaw of a fin whale.
Used explosive-tipped harpoons in the Icelandic fin whale hunt.

Hard To Port has been working towards this outcome for many years. Arne Feuerhahn, CEO of Hard To Port comments:

“The recently published report on the 2022 fin whale hunt has substantiated our revelations from the past summer. It also shows that the cases that we brought to the public’s attention through our investigative work are only the tip of the iceberg.

As a result of the new regulations on whaling that came into effect last August, the public has now been given a detailed insight into this controversial industry that, until now, has been highly inaccessible to the general public. 

The findings of the report are deeply troubling. As the report details, the agony of some animals lasted up to one hour. In one case, a whale even suffered for two hours before it finally died. The report also states that a quarter of all fin whales had to be shot at least twice, and several whales were hit with three or four harpoons. One animal even escaped with a harpoon stuck in its body, after it had been chased for 5 hours. These details sound like they were taken from the script of a horror movie, but sadly, this is the reality of commercial whaling in Iceland today.

With only 59% of recorded deaths considered instantaneous, and a median time to death of 11,5 minutes in whales that survived the first harpoon strike, these hunts have a shockingly poor killing efficiency. 

This independent report paints a very grim picture of the reality of the whaling operations at sea. It is our firm conviction that the Fisheries Minister Svavarsdóttir ought to take immediate action to ensure that the fin whales who move through the waters around Iceland will no longer be subjected to this senseless cruelty.”

Hard To Port has spearheaded efforts to monitor and investigate Iceland’s commercial whale hunt since 2014.

You can help us making a difference for these animals. Please consider supporting our effective whale conservation efforts in the North Atlantic by making a small contribution towards our work. Thank you, Danke and Takk Fyrir.

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