Iceland’s whaling season ends – 24 whales caught in 24 days

October 3, 2023

The 2023 whaling season in Iceland now seems to be over and a total of 24 whales have been caught. The season was very short – only 24 days – because earlier in the year, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, the Minister of Food, decided to impose a temporary ban on whaling. Then, in August, she reauthorised it, but with various restrictions applied. Subsequently, Iceland’s two whaling vessels were sent out to start killing.

Despite its short duration, this year’s whaling has been marked by scandals, including the violation of Iceland’s relevant animal welfare laws by the crew on the harpoon ship Hvalur 8, leading to the suspension of its operations. Among the fin whales taken was a pregnant female. Her death meant that her almost fully developed calf was killed too.

OceanCare very much hopes that we have now witnessed the last whale to be killed by this island nation. A formal decision is expected before the end of the year regarding Iceland’s new quota for the next five years, as the old one will expire at the end of December.

A total of 148 whales were caught during the whaling season in 2022. The 24 whales caught this year can be compared with 38 reported taken last September.

For more information about Iceland’s whaling this summer please see this blog by Mark Simmonds, Director of Science at OceanCare.

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