Iceland’s shortened 2023 fin whaling season ends

Iceland’s 2023 fin whaling season is over.

23 animals have been landed and butchered at the whaling station in Hvalfjörður. One animal was struck and lost at sea. An almost fully developed calf that was cut out from its mother’s womb brings the total number of dead whales to 25 in this year’s shortened whaling season.

Thanks to the temporary suspension of fin whaling (20.6.2023 – 31.08.2023) by the Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, the collective efforts of conservationists/activists and stormy September weather, over 120 fin whales could be saved this summer.

The one month whaling season was marked by numerous scandals, such as the immediate violation of animal welfare laws by the crew of the harpoon ship Hvalur 8 on day one of the hunting season, which resulted in a suspension of their operations, or the killing of a pregnant fin whale with her almost fully developed unborn calf.

An almost fully developed fin whale calf is pulled away from the butchered mother whale. Photo credits: Arne Feuerhahn | Hard To Port

Hard To Port brought some of these disturbing incidents to the attention of the media and public, which left many people speechless and outraged in Iceland and abroad. The sad and disturbing fate of the unfortunate mother fin whale and her unborn calf reached over 1.1 million people on our (and our colleague’s) Instagram within days. We will continue to tell their moving story.

Hvalur hf’s, the last active whaling company in Iceland, 5 year hunting license expires at the end of the year. It is now up to Iceland’s Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir to make a decision about the future of this archaic and inhumane ‘industry’.

We at Hard To Port would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has been working tirelessly and constructively for this cause over the past year and to everyone who supported our efforts financially and in other ways.

23 fin whales (conservation status: vulnerable) were hauled up the slipway of Iceland’s last whaling station during the shortened 2023 whaling season. Photo credit: Boris Niehaus | Hard To Port

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