Iceland issues new whaling license for 2024 hunting season

iceland issues new whaling license for 2024 hunting season

A man stands near a finwhale being towed to a port in Reykjavik June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Sigtryggur Johannsson/File photo

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Iceland has issued a license to Hvalur hf, the country's sole remaining whaling company, enabling it to continue hunting this season, the fisheries ministry said on Tuesday, despite repeated criticism from animal welfare groups.

The company would be permitted to hunt 99 whales in the Greenland and West Iceland region and 29 whales in the East Iceland and Faroe Islands region, the ministry said in a statement.

The volcanic nation's whaling practices have sparked protests from animal welfare campaigners and Hollywood celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio.

"The decision is based on a precautionary approach and reflects the government's increased emphasis on the sustainable use of resources," the ministry said in a statement.

The whaling season in Iceland lasts from mid-June to late September, with the majority of the whale meat sold to Japan.

Only Iceland, Norway and Japan have conducted commercial whaling in recent years, according to the International Whaling Commission's catch list.

(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, editing by Louise Rasmussen)

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