Sea Shepherd, an international anti-whaling organization, condemned the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf on July 11, claiming they illegally slaughtered an endangered blue whale.
Footage captured by Sea Shepherd showed workers of Kristjan Loftsson’s company, Hvalur hf, posing with an unconfirmed species of whale that they killed.
According to Sea Shepherd, Loftsson’s company is lawfully permitted to kill fin whales by the Icelandic government, but they do not have a permit to kill endangered blue whales.
In a statement released on July 11, Sea Shepherd said they had contacted several scientific experts specializing in whale identification and came to the conclusion that “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,” said Dr Phillip Clapham of the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Centre. “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.”
Kristján Loftsson rejected Sea Shepherd’s claims. “We have never caught a blue whale in our waters since they were protected,” he told CNN. “We see them in the ocean. When you approach a blue whale, it’s so distinct that you leave it alone.” Credit: Sea Shepherd UK via Storyful