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Whaling in Iceland is shut down for second consecutive year

Iceland's two whaling companies will skip the whale hunt this summer for the second straight year, with one telling AFP Friday that they were hanging up their harpoons for good.

As Icelandic whaling is limited to the summer months, this means no whales will be hunted off the subarctic coasts of Iceland, for the second year in a row.

IP-Utgerd, which specializes in hunting minke whales, told AFP it was no longer financially viable to hunt for whales in Icelandic waters.

"I'm never going to hunt whales again, I'm stopping for good," managing director Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson said.

The hunt had become too expensive after a no-fishing coastal zone was extended, requiring whalers to go even further offshore, he said.

Meanwhile, Hvalur, which hunts fin whales, the biggest species after the blue whale, said it was cancelling the season due to export woes and, to a lesser degree, restrictions linked to the new coronavirus.

Hvalur's chief executive Kristjan Loftsson told daily Morgunbladid the decision was mainly due to stiff competition with Japan, the main market for whale meat consumption and where commercial whaling resumed in 2019.

Loftsson said food safety requirements for imported meat were more stringent than for local products, rendering Icelandic exports more difficult. 


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