Sweden condemns Icelandic whale catch

Sweden's environment minister Andreas Carlgren has reacted strongly after Icelandic whalers made their first kill following the country's decision to resume commercial whaling.

Carlgren challenged Iceland to “immediately stop hunting whales.” He told Dagens Nyheter that the move a “provocation against all those countries which are working in the International Whaling Commission to restore the decimated whale population.”

“This is deeply upsetting and completely unacceptable,” Carlgren said.

Icelandic television showed on Sunday footage of a large fin whale being towed by a whaling boat. The whale was harpooned in the north Atlantic about 300 kilometres west of Iceland, according to news agency AP.

Fin whales are an endangered species, and are listed on the International Conservation Union’s red list. Despite this, Iceland has granted permission for nine whales to be killed between now and August.

Dagens Nyheter reports that Iceland has been able to return to commercial whaling partly due to a mistake by a Swedish official at the IWC’s conference in 2002, when the Swede pressed the wrong button in a vote, accidentally voting in favour of Iceland’s entry into the organization.