Icelandic Whaling

Iceland did not take an objection to the 1982 moratorium on commercial whaling but after the moratorium took effect continued to whale for "scientific purposes," taking approximately 60 whales per year until 1992 when it withdrew from the IWC.

Iceland rejoined in 2002 in a controversial vote and lodged an objection to the moratorium - a move disputed by many countries. Iceland resumed scientific whaling in 2003 and over five years killed 200 minke whales. In 2006, it also started commercial whaling under its controversial objection, killing seven minke whales and seven fin whales, in addition to its scientific catch.

Iceland has been whaling commercially ever since, and its 2010 hunt was the largest in decades, with 148 fin whales (an endangered species) and 60 minkes whales killed. In May 2011, Iceland’s Marine Research Institute proposed quotas of 154 fin and 216 minke whales for the 2011-12 season, and a possible carry-over of 20% of any unused quota from 2010.

Historically, domestic demand in Iceland has been small, and the country exported whale meat to Japan. Iceland has continued to export whale products to Japan and Norway under CITES reservations, to the Faroe Islands (a non-CITES party), and illegally to Belarus and Latvia.