A DNA analysis of a whale caught in Iceland on 7 July has concluded that it was a hybrid of a fin whale and a blue whale, not a blue whale. The analysis was conducted by the Icelandic Marine and Freshwater Research Institute and Matis, a government owned, non-profit, independent research company.
While blue whales are protected and their capture prohibited in Icelandic waters, this prohibition does not apply to such hybrids. While infrequently captured, whale hybrids are known to have been captured before in whaling operations both by Iceland and a number of other countries.
International trade in such hybrids is generally restricted on the basis of CITES, and the company in question will not be able to export any products derived from this animal for commercial purposes to states parties to CITES, including Japan.
Whaling in Icelandic waters is sustainable, subject to strict regulations and only abundant stocks of common minke whale and fin whales are targeted. These stocks currently count around 50 000 common minke whales and 35 000 fin whales, of which the allowed catch is 0,4-0,5%. The stock abundance of both stocks has been confirmed by the Scientific Committees of the International Whaling Commission and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.