Protestors end 24-hour blockade on whaling ships in Iceland

Animal news: Protestors end 24-hour blockade on whaling ships in Iceland
Fin whale, photo: Canva

After a protest that lasted over 24 hours, Anahita Babaei and Elissa Bijou, two activists who oppose the lifting of the whaling ban in Iceland, descended on Tuesday from the masts of whaling ships Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9 in Reykjavík Harbor. 

The duo began their protest early Monday morning by climbing the masts of the whaling ships. Despite the limited space in the ships’ crow’s nests and the cold night temperatures, the activists maintained their position. The two were supported by other animal rights activists, with some holding an overnight vigil.

Babaei and Bijoi were taken into police custody when they came down. The ships couldn’t leave the harbor during the protest; Kristján Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur hf, clarified that the halt in whaling activities was weather-induced, not because of the protests.

Iceland’s government announced last Thursday that it would be resuming its fin whale hunting operations following a two-month suspension. In June, the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík, opted for a halt on commercial whaling. 

The decision was influenced by a government-sanctioned report, which found that the time taken for harpooned whales to die was considerably lengthy, sometimes even spanning hours. Such a delay was a direct violation of the nation’s animal welfare laws.

The government had now allowed the killing of whales again, adding that there were stricter rules for hunting the animals. Iceland, Japan and Norway are the only three countries in the world that still hunt whales.

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