The ancient practice of whaling goes back to the time of the indigenous people, hunting the marine giants for food and other resources.
Commercial whaling itself began around the 17th century and didn’t stop until around the mid-20th century.
This practice caused many whale species to be pushed to the brink of extinction, and it was up to the conservation efforts of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to help repair the damage.
Iceland is one of the few countries where the practice still lives on, until now. A new ban on commercial whale hunting in Iceland will go into effect in 2024.
Iceland initially objected to the IWC’s suspension of whale hunting back in 1986 and resumed commercial whale hunting in 2003.
However, in recent years, demand for whale hunting licenses has declined. In four years, between 2019 and 2023, the law allowed 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales to be hunted annually.
Although, only one whale has actually been killed in the past three years due to two major licensees of whale hunting abandoning the hunt.
This is great news, but whales aren’t the only large marine animals to have been commercially hunted, but again there has been progress.
For example, Hawaii became the first state in the US to ban shark fishing in their waters, despite certain exceptions for indigenous hunting practices to still be valid.
Regardless, these actions to stop commercial whale hunting show a crucial step toward the planet’s wellbeing.