Whalers butcher ultra rare hybrid but will escape punishment

  |   Tech News

A large whale that was killed off the coast of Iceland has been established as a rare hybrid. There were concerns the creature was a blue whale, one of the rarest in the world, but apparently, the whaling company has claimed it’s a hybrid blue and fin whale, according to DNA. It’s still an incredibly rare hybrid, and trading its meat is illegal.

After photos from anti-whaling groups showed what appeared to be a juvenile male blue whale being butchered, tests were carried out by the Marine Research Institute that confirmed it was a blue and fin cross. The key reason for interest in the species was to determine whether this killing was illegal under Icelandic law.

Blue whales were hunted to the brink of extinction by commercial whalers in the 1940s to the 1960s when they were then classified as a protected stock under the International Whaling Commission. That means that all countries, including Iceland, agreed not to kill the creatures. But fin whales are still a grey area for killing, with Iceland fishers arguing they can be killed. Hybrids between fin and blue whales are an even murkier area, say specialists.

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