What’s believed to be a uncommon blue whale has been killed by an Icelandic whaling firm.
Images and movies of the whale (labelled Whale #22) being introduced for slaughter within the fjord of Hvalfjordur have been taken by anti-whaling teams final week.
Whereas whalers are allowed to hunt fin whales in Iceland, blue whales are protected and haven’t been hunted in many years.
The whalers stated the whale was a cross between a fin and a blue whale, however consultants have stated the images present a juvenile blue whale.
“From the photographs, it has all of the traits of a blue whale,” Dr. Phillip Clapham, from the U.S. Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Alaska Fisheries Science Centre, instructed the BBC in a press release.
Ellen Coombs, a biologist at College Faculty London instructed The Impartial the whale had a lighter dorsal fin than a fin whale.
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She additionally stated, “Now’s the very best time to see blues round Iceland, so I think about that regardless of nonetheless being uncommon, their numbers round Iceland are at their highest throughout these months.”
Kristján Loftsson runs whaling firm Hvalur hf, and stands by the evaluation that the whale is a hybrid.
“To mistake a blue whale for a fin whale is unattainable — this whale has all of the characterizations of a fin whale within the ocean,” Loftsson instructed the BBC.
“There are a whole lot of blue whales off the Iceland coast — after we see the blows and sail to it, and we understand it’s a blue after which we go away it and go and search for fin whales.”
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However activists disagree.
“The killing of a potential blue whale or blue/fin whale hybrid, even when unintentional, demonstrates the problem for whalers at sea to determine which species they’re really pursuing,” Sigursteinn Masson of the Worldwide Fund for Animal Welfare wrote in a weblog publish.
“The result’s protected species finally suffers the collateral injury ensuing from an pointless and more and more unpopular hunt.”
Invoice Welch flew the drone that caught the footage of the whale for marine conservation group Sea Shepherd.
“I couldn’t imagine what I used to be seeing. I imply, no one ought to see what I’ve seen,” he stated.
“It goes towards every part that I imagine in. In actual fact, it’s gonna harm the tourism business in Iceland in the event that they proceed this.”
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Anti-whaling group Arduous to Port stated they have been working with marine conservationists to decide the species of the whale.
“Was No. 22 a “Blue”? Arduous To Port’s commentary and documentation work has revealed that the 22nd whale landed at Iceland’s whaling station was not a fin whale,” the group wrote on Instagram.
“If our assumption proves to be true, we’ll make certain it will have some severe penalties for Kristján Loftsson and his firm.”
Blue whales, the biggest animal on the planet, can develop as much as 200 tons. The World Wildlife Funds says its coronary heart is the scale of a Volkswagen, and lists its standing as endangered.
It’s unlawful to hunt blue whales in Iceland and in most locations.
However it’s authorized to hunt fin whales in Iceland, although their standing is listed as endangered as effectively.
“Subsequent to the blue whale, the fin whale is the second largest mammal on the earth,” the WWF states on its web site.
Iceland is testing the whale’s DNA to find out its species.
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