First Blue Whale Slaughtered in Iceland for the First Time in Decades

Iceland’s lone whaling company’s ongoing defiance of an international ban on commercial whaling is outrageous and offense enough as it continues to target endangered fin and minke whales, but now it’s reached a new low after having illegally slaughtered the first blue whale in decades.

After a two year break from whaling, Hvalur hf announced earlier this spring that it would resume this year with a record-high quota that could reach 238 endangered fin whales, making it the only nation in the world to target this endangered species.

Since it started in June, 21 fin whales have already become victims of the company’s exploding harpoons, but now it’s under fire for slaughtering an endangered blue whale who is believed to be the first killed in 50 years.

This crime was exposed thanks to Sea Shepherd volunteers who were monitoring the Hvalur hf whaling, who captured photos and videos that made it possible to make the identification.

Iceland has illegally slain an endangered Blue Whale

Kristián Loftsson has illegally slaughtered 21 endangered Fin…

Posted by Captain Paul Watson on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Experts consulted acknowledged that it could be a blue/fin whale hybrid, but it’s not likely. According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Icelandic authorities have confirmed that five hybrids have been identified by researchers since 1986 around Iceland, but four of them were killed by whalers.

“While I can’t entirely rule out the possibility that this is a hybrid, I don’t see any characteristics that would suggest that. From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that – notably the coloration pattern – there is almost no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea,” said Dr. Phillip Clapham, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

While the whale was butchered and removed from sight, there still a possibility that any questions about whether this was a blue whale can be confirmed by genetic testing, and both Sea Shepherd and WDC are calling for an investigation into the incident.

“The crime committed against this iconic whale must be fully investigated by independent inspectors with DNA samples taken from all the whale meat and parts in storage at Loftsson’s whaling station and warehouses since the whale has been butchered and removed from view potentially to hide the evidence as Loftsson has no authority (even within Iceland) to kill a Blue whale. In addition, environmental DNA samples should be taken from whaling station equipment, surfaces and containers to look for Blue whale DNA in case the butchered parts have been removed to hide this latest atrocity,” said Sea Shepherd UK’s Chief Operating officer Robert Read.

While the death of a blue whale at the hand of whalers is unquestionably tragic, the loss of hundreds of others, along with this company’s ongoing attempts to keep commercial whaling alive, are no less shameful. Anti-whaling advocates have continued to work to shut it down, and promote the country’s whale watching industry, which is far more valuable and sustainable, and hopefully this incident will help increase support.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

Brian de Castro
Brian de Castro6 months ago

So, let's boycott Iceland in whatever ways we can until they halt all whaling.

Sue R
Sue R7 months ago

People are so mean.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner7 months ago

Icelanders are savages. They're not as friendly as they pretend to be, they're sadistic murdering terrorists who destroy any wildlife they find. Icelanders tried to attack tourists that reported on their whale poaching. They brutally slaughtered a lone polar bear that drifted to their horror island. Like the Chinese they will shove anything down their throats including the threatened Puffin birds who are dwindling in numbers because of those disgusting people Iceland should be wiped off the face of the Earth.

RONALD Walker7 months ago

Now, I wish mini brain tRump say something about what Iceland is doing. Because mini brain tRump is always lying or saying something stupid about what is going on? You may ask why would you want mini brain tRump to say anything? Because the press would check it out and would post another lie from mini brain tRump! Then there would be more news about whats happening in Iceland!

Fred L
Fred L7 months ago

My previous comment may have been wishful thinking. Apparently it's the tourists that consume the vast majority of whale meat, believing they're partaking in traditional Icelandic fare.

Fred L
Fred L7 months ago

Tourism comprises about 10 percent of Iceland's Gross Domestic Product. Publicizing Iceland's willful slaughter of whales, and a call to boycott that country's tourist industry, might have some influence on stopping their whaling.

Janis K
Janis K7 months ago


heather g
heather g7 months ago

What a magnificent creature to be killed. Thank you to Captain Watson of Sea Shepherd for reporting it to the world.

Barbara I
Barbara I7 months ago

Stop all animal slaughter. All life deserves to live.