Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf is cancelling their 2016 summer whaling season. During their whaling season they hunt for fin whales, the second largest animal on earth. They kill an average of 150 whales per year.
Iceland has continued to hunt fin whales, despite their endangered species status and despite the International Whaling Commission’s ban on commercial whaling.
The meat taken from the whales that were to be hunted would have been exported to Japan, but current Japanese import regulations are extremely strict, making it nearly impossible to sell meat to them.
According to Kristján Loftsson, the managing director of Hvalur, “Our problem with the Japanese is that they are analyzing for PCB contaminants in the blubber of the whales, using methods that are 40 years old and very inaccurate. We have to give up because we don’t know what will come out of this analysis.”
But Japanese food-safety laws are also extremely strict, and according to Kate O’Connell of the Animal Welfare Insitutue, it is the level of pesticides that are being found in the whale products that are keeping Hvalur from importing their products to Japan.
Whether it is a short lived victory or not, it could mean the first step to eliminating whaling altogether.