Whale hunting in Iceland has been cancelled this summer due to coronavirus concerns, Icelandic media network RUV reported Friday.
The whaling company Hvalur, which is the only company that hunts fin and minke whales for export to Japan, will not hunt whales or process whale meat in Iceland this summer, for the second year in a row.
Coronavirus social distancing requirements have made the processing of whales in Iceland "almost impossible," Hvalur chief executive Kristjan Loftsson told Icelandic newspaper The Morning Paper, according to RUV, the national broadcaster.
Loftsson said that whaling station workers need to work "very closely together" and would all need to quarantine if any tested positive for Covid-19.
Despite the setback, Loftsson maintained that "research is ongoing" into the use of whaling products.
He said whale meat has the potential to be used as an "iron-rich dietary supplement for anaemia patients," as well as the possible use of whale bones and blubber for gelatine production.
The legal hunting quota for whaling in Icelandic waters in 2020 was 200 fin whales and 200 minke whales. The last time the whaling season commenced was in 2018, when whalers killed and processed 146 fin whales and six minke whales.
Commercial whale hunting in Iceland resumed in 2006 after a break of several years. According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), Iceland has killed more than 1,700 whales since the 1986 global ban on commercial whaling.
Australian Associated Press