'Endangered blue whale' harpooned off Iceland coast

Although an worldwide moratorium has placed catch limits at zero for blue whales, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation all objected to that provision.

A massive whale, believed to be a blue whale, slaughtered in Iceland, is being butchered.

Multiple experts who saw the photos said the whale was nearly certainly a blue whale, going by its colour, pattern, and fin and tail shape.

Icelandic fishing magnate Kristjan Loftsson views the whale, believed to be a blue whale.

A change in Japanese regulations caused the Icelandic government to reconsider their moratorium on whaling, as Loftsson's company kills fin whales predominantly for export to the Japanese market.

"There are a lot of blue whales off the Iceland coast, when we see the blows and sail to it, and we realise it is a blue and then we leave it and go and look for fin whales".

The first blue whale to be killed by whalers in over 50 years has been killed in Iceland, according to reports.

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"There is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea".

Sea Shepherd UK chief operating officer Robert Read demanded DNA samples be taken from the Hvalur 8's equipment, meat stocks, and storage to prove it illegally killed a blue whale.

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

Hard To Port said that the whale could be a blue whale or a rare hybrid of a fin and blue whale and called the killing a mistake in a statement.

Their founder, Paul Watson, said: "This man (Loftsson) must be stopped from ruthlessly violating global conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland". Simmonds, said: "This bad incident comes as Japan is rumoured to be planning an attempt to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling, and clearly speaks to how utterly inappropriate it is for countries to even contemplate allowing a large-scale return to this grossly inhumane and haphazard industry".

"This is a deplorable act - the blue whale, the largest animal ever to grace our planet - is endangered and protected under all relevant global agreements", he said. Prior to the catastrophic commercial whaling of the 20 century it is estimated that there were in the region of a quarter of a million blue whales, but their populations crashed in the 1950s and 60s.

Mr Loftsson said his crew spent an hour observing the whale before shooting it, and that they have never mistakenly taken a blue whale.

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