September 5th, 2016 (Vala Hafstad). Frozen whale meat products of Hvalur hf were estimated at ISK 3.6 billion (USD 31 million, EUR 27.8 million) in the last financial year, Vísir reports. Getting the meat to market in Japan has proven difficult, due to hindrances, and it will take a while to finish the supplies.
From 2013 till the end of September in 2015, Hvalur hf. hunted 426 whales. Two years ago, the value of unsold supplies was estimated at ISK 1.8 billion (USD 15.5 million, EUR 13.9 million), but is now estimated at ISK 3.6 billion. The company’s profit for the financial year ending September 30, 2015, just published, was ISK 2.3 billion (USD 19.8 million, EUR 17.7 million), or ISK 725 million lower than the previous year. Hvalur’s profits can be explained entirely by its income from its stake in Vogun hf, which owns 33.7 percent in the seafood company HB Grandi and 38.6 percent in the fishing gear producer Hampiðjan.
Hvalur’s assets are valued at ISK 26 billion (USD 224 million, EUR 200 million), but its debts amount to ISK 9.9 billion (USD 85 million, EUR 76 million).
In March, Hvalur’s CEO, Kristján Loftsson, was quoted as saying that had company officials known what hindrances were in store in the Japanese market, they would never have resumed whale hunting in 2009 after a 20-year break.
In February of this year, Hvalur hf, which is Iceland’s only whaling company, announced that no fin whales would be caught this summer due to difficult market conditions in Japan.
The consumption of whale meat has dropped in Japan in recent years, and government regulations require time consuming methods for testing imported whale meat. Transporting whale meat to Japan has not been without challenges either: In 2014, a ship on its way there, carrying whale meat, was refused permission to dock along the way.