The Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, has decided to suspend hunting of fin whales until 31 August.
The Food and Veterinary Authority’s control report on the treatment of whales during the hunting of fin whales was submitted to the Ministry in May 2023 and the conclusion of the report is that the killing of the animals took longer than allowed by the principal objective of the Act on Animal Welfare.
Following publication of the report, the Food and Veterinary Authority tasked the Expert Advisory Board on Animal Welfare with evaluating whether this hunting can ever fulfil the objective of the Act on Animal Welfare. The opinion of the Expert Advisory Board was submitted to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries on 19 June and its conclusion is that the method employed in hunting large whales does not comply with the Act on Animal Welfare.
It is necessary, in view of this conclusion, to delay the beginning of the whaling season in order to have time to examine whether it is possible to set out rules that can ensure that whaling will be carried out in compliance with the mandatory minimum standards set out in the Act on Animal Welfare.
The Minister stated: “I have decided to suspend all whaling operations in view of the decisive opinion of the Expert Advisory Board on Animal Welfare.” “In my opinion, the conditions of the Act on Animal Welfare are mandatory. This activity cannot continue in the future if the authorities and the license holders can not ensure the fulfilment of the welfare requirements.”
This measure gives leeway to explore possible improvements and legal conditions for setting out further limitations on whaling on the basis of the Act on Animal Welfare and the Law on Whaling. With a view to this, the Ministry will use the coming months to seek the opinion of experts and licence holders.