Is it a blue whale or not? The slaughter in Iceland of what is claimed was a member of the endangered species has triggered outrage and left experts puzzled about its true identity.
“There has not been a blue whale harpooned by anyone for the last 50 years until this one,” Sea Shepherd, an international non-profit marine conservation movement, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The group, which published photos of the mammal being butchered for export at an Icelandic whaling station on the night of July 7, said the fishermen “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”.
But Icelandic experts are not completely certain whether it is indeed the world’s largest leviathan, which the International Whaling Commission has been protecting since 1966.
Sea Shepherd said the fishing crew which butchered the animal mixed its parts with previously caught fin whales, making “it difficult or impossible to locate during potential inspections by the authorities”.