Iceland’s media announced Monday that the nation will resume its controversial fin whale hunt and has already dispatched two ships to begin filling the season’s quota of 154 whales. The two ships, Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9 set sail on Sunday, heading west towards whaling waters.
Hvalur, the only company that hunts fin whales, the second largest after blue whales, killed 148 of the creatures in 2010, but cancelled hunts in 2011 and 2012 after it’s only market, Japan, was devastated by the tsunami.
The International Whaling Commission, in response to alarming drops in the whale population, imposed a global moratorium on hunting in 1986. However, both Iceland and Norway have continued to openly practice commercial whaling in defiance of the ruling.
Iceland also hunts mink whales, and began filling this season’s quota in May. They have harpooned seven so far.
For more on whale hunting, read Sebastian Junger's classic feature The Whale Hunters.