From WikiAnimal

Iceland is home to various native wildlife, including the Arctic fox, which is the only native land mammal species that can be found in Iceland. Other animals that can be found in Iceland include oystercatchers, orcas, whales, puffins, Arctic terns, gyrfalcons, porpoises, and dolphins1. The country is also home to diverse birdlife that can be found in the coastal regions of the country.

Orca captures

In Iceland, the capture of orcas was usually carried out in connection with fishing operations during the months of October and November. Pods of orcas were lured to the herring purse-seiner by releasing large amounts of left-over fish into the water.

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Commercial whaling is the hunting of whales for profit, which is banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since the 1980s due to declining whale populations. Iceland left the IWC in 1992, but rejoined in 2002 with a reservation to the ban.

In June 2023, Iceland imposed a temporary ban on commercial whaling of fin whales, the second largest whale species after blue whales, on animal welfare grounds. This was based on a report by the Food and Veterinary Authority that found that some whales were shot multiple times before they died, causing unnecessary suffering.

On August 31, 2023, the Icelandic government announced that commercial whaling of fin whales can resume, but with stricter requirements on hunting equipment and methods.

The new regulations include:

  • Using larger harpoons with explosive penthrite grenades
  • Using rifles with larger calibers and bullets
  • Shooting only when the whale is within a certain distance and angle
  • Having a veterinarian on board each whaling vessel
  • Reporting each whale catch to the authorities

See also