Iceland has suspended whaling until the end of August in the name of animal welfare, while also alluding to the possibility that the practice will eventually face a full ban.
“I have taken the decision to temporarily stop whaling” until August 31, Iceland’s Food Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir said.
“If the government and [hunting] licensees cannot guarantee the welfare requirements [according to Iceland’s Animal Welfare Act], this activity has no future.”
Hvalur, the country’s last active whaling company, previously announced that this season will be its last because of a decline in profits.
Iceland’s whaling season runs from mid-June to mid-September, and will likely not resume after August.
Current quotas allow for the killing of 209 fin whales – the second longest marine mammal after the blue whale – and 217 minke whales every year. But catches have decreased in recent years because of a decline in demand for whale meat.
The majority of the general population now disapproves of the practice.
A recent survey carried out by the Maskina Institute suggests that 51 per cent of the population in Iceland is opposed to whaling, compared to 42 per cent just four years ago.
According to a report by Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority, the time it takes to kill a whale violates the country’s law. Videos recently released by the organisation revealed that a whale hunt in 2022 lasted five hours.
Iceland, Norway and Japan are the only countries that allow whaling.