For the first time since 2003, Iceland will not hunt whales this summer due to the lack of demand for the meat.

As reported by Icelandic TV channel RÚV, it doesn’t just apply to fin whales, which are endangered, but also minke whales, which are now thriving.

The last company in the country to still hunt fin whales, Hvalur hf., has already said that it wouldn’t be hunting the animals this summer because it got its permit too late.

The CEO of whaling business IP Útgerð, Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, said that his company would be focusing on sea cucumbers instead.

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Minke whale meat will still be imported from Norway though, in order to satisfy the small demand there still is in Iceland.

Sadly though, it is likely that minke whale hunting will begin again in spring next year.

This marks the first time since 2003 that a whaling season has passed without a hunt, when ‘scientific hunts’ were launched. In 2006, Iceland took the decision to drop the pretence of research and engage in for-profit whaling.

Meanwhile, Japan has officially begun to hunt whales again this year, with commercial whaling in Japan returning after the country lifted its 31-year-long ban.

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The first whale was killed and brought back on 1 July.

The bloodied body of a Minke whale could be seen being unloaded by fishermen when the boat returned. Whaling vessels could also be seeing leaving other ports in the country to bring back the huge mammals.

Consumption of whale meat has declined dramatically in the last 30 years, prompting anti-whaling activists and animal rights campaigners to slam the decision to resume commercial whaling.

Speaking to Uk Pressit, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) member, Captain Paul Watson said: “Japan is not ‘resuming’ commercial whaling. They never stopped.

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“They have stopped whaling in the Southern Ocean but the illegal whaling they have been doing in the North Western Pacific has been continuous since 1987.

“Commercial whaling is absolutely forbidden in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and commercial whaling anywhere is illegal. This means that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will pass the resolution to create the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.

“This means that Japan is now openly declaring their illegal whaling activities. With this announcement Japan has declared themselves as a pirate whaling nation. This will make Sea Shepherd’s objective of shutting down these poachers much easier.”

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