Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Science | By

Rare blue whale hybrid possibly hunted by Icelandic whaling company

Rare blue whale hybrid possibly hunted by Icelandic whaling company

Speaking from his home in Iceland, Kristjan Loftsson also said Australia should resume hunting whales in order to prevent strandings and danger to shipping traffic.

It has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the coloration pattern, ' Dr Phillip Clapham from NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Centre said.

Peck says that most of the key appearance factors of a blue whale are there in the photographs he saw of the whale carcass.

"From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the colouration pattern - there is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea".

Gísli Arnór Víkingsson at the Iceland Marine Institute, said: "We heard about this odd whale straight away and an employee reports that it's in many ways similar to a hybrid which has been brought to us quite a lot recently which is unusual. They have blue all over their body, you see it, it's easy", he said.

The last case of a blue whale being deliberately captured and killed was recorded 40 years ago off the coast of Spain. Although an worldwide moratorium has placed catch limits at zero for blue whales, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation all objected to that provision.

Whaling company Hvalur hf, which reportedly killed the whale, is allowed to hunt fin whales legally in Iceland.


The first 21 whales killed were endangered fin whales, which the Icelandic government has permitted the company, owned by Icelandic fishing magnate Kristjan Loftsson, to slaughter despite an worldwide moratorium on whaling, Sea Shepherd said.

Sea Shepherd volunteers monitoring the Hvalur hf whaling station in Hvalfjordur, Iceland, claim to have documented the slaughter of an endangered Blue whale on the night of July 7.

Sea Shepherd, an organisation that campaigns against whaling, have been attempting to bring the story to light since the whale was killed on 20 June.

"Iceland's whaling is rogue and archaic and should command diplomatic criticism at the highest levels". Blue whales, the world's largest species, have been protected since 1966.

Although they are quite rare, a hybrid whale is a legal grey area, giving the whalers the option to say that they made a mistake.

While blue whales are protected, there is no designated status for hybrid blue-fin whales because they are typically extremely rarely encountered.

"This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating global conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland".

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