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Iceland has illegally slain an endangered Blue Whale

Blue whale awaiting slaughterBlue whale awaiting slaughter

Kristian Loftsson has illegally slaughtered 21 endangered Fin whales since June 20th, 2018.

Emboldened by the silence of other nations  and the lack of media coverage since the first whale if the season was slaughtered, Loftsson’s 22nd whale was  an even more iconic endangered species of whale -  a Blue Whale!

Iceland has now truly surpassed both Japan and Norway as the most destructive outlaw whaling nation on the planet.

No other nation slaughters Fin whales and there has not been a Blue Whale harpooned by anyone for the last fifty years until this one harpooned by Hvalur 8.

Loftsson has committed a blatant crime and he has done so with impunity. Not only that, his whaling station crew posed for photos next to and even on top of the whale in a sign they knew very well this was a rare Blue whale. Then, presumably without reporting the Blue whale to authorities Loftsson ordered his crew to butcher the whale just like it was another Fin whale – the meat, skin, blubber and bone all now mixed in with the Fin whales previously caught to hide his crime – or maybe being hidden from potential inspections by the authorities.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has outlawed all commercial whaling activities. Blue whales and Fin whales are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Photographs and video taken by the Sea Shepherd UK team on the ground near the whaling station shows clearly that the whale was a Blue whale. Icelandic authorities should do a DNA analysis but the chain of command for the evidence has been removed from the cutting area to inside the warehouse where the remains of the 21 Fin whales have been also stored and where the processing is out of public view.

Butchers posing at the head of the Blue whale.Butchers posing at the head of the Blue whale.

Using species identifying indicators of skin colour/pattern, baleen colour, dorsal fin shape, tail stock - the 22nd whale to be landed by Hvalur 8 on the 7th July at the whaling station in Hvalfjordur (Iceland) appears to be a Blue whale not a Fin whale from the photographs and video from Sea Shepherd UK's crew.  According to several scientific experts specializing in whale identification contacted by Sea Shepherd, the whale is without question a Blue whale.

"While I can't entirely rule out the possibility that this is a hybrid, I don't see any characteristics that would suggest that.  From the photos, it has all the characteristics of a blue whale; given that - notably the coloration pattern - there is almost no possibility that an experienced observer would have misidentified it as anything else at sea" - Dr Phillip Clapham, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Centre

Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson is appealing to Icelandic authorities to stop these crimes against conservation by Kristján Loftsson. “This man must be stopped from ruthlessly violating international conservation law and bringing such disrepute to the nation of Iceland. There can be no legal justification for this crime.”

Captain Paul Watson has spent over a half a century defending whales. After viewing the photos and video taken by his team in Iceland, he said, “I have viewed plenty of Blue whales on the surface, dived with them beneath the surface in West Australia, off the coast of California, in the Southern Ocean and in the waters off Newfoundland. I know a Blue whale when I see one and this whale slaughtered by Kristján Loftsson is a Blue whale.

Sea Shepherd UK’s Chief Operating officer Robert Read stated, “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. In addition, environmental DNA samples should be taken from whaling station equipment, surfaces and containers to look for Blue whale DNA in case the butchered parts have been removed to hide this latest atrocity.

Sea Shepherd has had crew on the ground since the slaughter of Fin whales began on June 20th. Their aim is that every whale will be documented for the entire Fin whaling season.

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