Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Commercial whalers 'kill first blue whale in over 50 years'

And, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Icelandic whalers have killed four hybrid blue and fin whales over the years. "This should be a final wake-up call to Iceland that commercial whaling does not belong in the 21st century", she added.

"Photographs point to the fact that it's a hybrid whale and we're nearly certain that it is one, but we can't be sure until autumn when we get it DNA tested", he said, according to ABC News.

Dr Gill said the colouration, shape and size of the dorsal fin and colour of the baleen (mouth filter) were all characteristic of a blue whale. "They have blue all over their body, you see it, it's easy", he said.

Hvalur hf. have now hunted 22 fin whales since the beginning of the season.

Speaking to CNN, professor of biology Adam A.Peck at the University of Hawaii says that the whale hunted by Hvalur hf on Saturday night is a blue whale and not a hybrid blue/ fin whale as believed by Icelandic experts.

"From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the colouration pattern - there is nearly no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea".

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Robert Reed, the Chief Operating Officer of Sea Shepherd, said: "The crime committed against this iconic whale must be fully investigated by independent inspectors with DNA samples taken from all the whale meat and parts in storage at Loftsson's whaling station and warehouses since the whale has been butchered and removed from view potentially to hide the evidence as Loftsson has no authority (even within Iceland) to kill a blue whale".

Blue whales were nearly hunted to extinction last century and there are only 10,000 to 25,000 left alive. It makes hunting for blue whales illegal, and as far as we know, none have been deliberately killed since 1978.

"Iceland's whaling is rogue and archaic and should command diplomatic criticism at the highest levels".

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who has spent over a half a century defending whales, appealed to Icelandic authorities to stop Loftsson "from ruthlessly violating global conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland".

"This is a deplorable act - the blue whale, the largest animal ever to grace our planet - is endangered and protected under all relevant worldwide agreements", he said.

Like fin whales, they are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "endangered", with an estimated global population of between 10,000 and 25,000.

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