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Using whale oil to fuel whale hunting ships is obscene says conservation group

09/02/2013 23:51:56

Iceland's whalers killed 148 Endangered Fin whales in 2010.

Fin whale made into ‘green biofuel'
February 2013. Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) has reacted strongly to comments given by Iceland's leading whaler in an interview in the Sunday Times newspaper, in which he states that he is using oil from endangered Fin whales as a so-called ‘green biofuel' to power his hunting ships.

Kristjan Loftsson, chief executive of Icelandic whaling company Hvalur, stated in the newspaper interview that his whaling vessels are being fuelled by whale oil (mixed with marine oil), with each boat using roughly the equivalent of the oil from one dead Fin whale for each single day trip it makes.

Absurd, perverse and unethical
Responding to the strange claims that this is a ‘green biofuel', WDC chief executive officer, Chris Butler-Stroud said: "We have known for a while that Icelandic whaling is no longer simply about feeding people. It is driven by the greed of a few individuals determined to try to make enormous amounts of money out of the practice, to the extent that they are even willing to use products from endangered whales to fuel their own ships' engines in order to kill more whales.

"This is a completely absurd, perverse and unethical move by an industry that is already steeped in the blood of whales, and which is now prepared to use the remains of dead whales to keep its own vessels afloat."

Collapse of Japanese market
In 2011, Iceland's total whaling was down from its 2010 peak of 148 Fin whales and 60 Minke whales. The collapse of the Japanese market for Fin whale meat demonstrated the true commercial nature of Iceland's industrial whaling as greatly reduced demand from Japan - a country which prizes Fin whale meat - led to no hunt taking place in 2012.

With up to 40% of the domestic consumption of whale meat now being made up of unsuspecting tourists, the real market for the meat within the Icelandic community continues to decline.

Since the ban on commercial whaling (hunting for commercial profit) was introduced in 1986 by the body that regulates whaling - the IWC (International Whaling Commission), over 30,000 whales have been killed because of loopholes that have allowed some countries to carry on hunting.

Iceland claims it is allowed to break the ban because it left the IWC in 1992 but was 'allowed' to re-join 10 years later under a ‘reservation'. Between them, Japan, Norway and Iceland kill around 1,500 whales a year - mainly Fin, Minke, Bryde's, Sei, Humpback and Sperm whales.

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