By Irena Theriot
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This is allowed under IWC rules, although most IWC members oppose it. These hunts are a source of conflict between pro- and anti-whaling countries and organizations. Nations, scientists and environmental organizations opposed to whaling consider the Japanese research program to be unnecessary at best and a thinly disguised commercial whaling operation at worst. Japan maintains that annual whaling is sustainable and necessary for scientific study and management of whale stocks. Japan also argues that objections to whaling are based upon cultural differences and emotional anthropomorphism.
A ban on whaling was imposed by the Alting in 1915. It was not until 1935 that an Icelandic company established another whaling station. It shut down after only five seasons. In 1948, another Icelandic company, Hvalur H/F, purchased a naval base at the head of Hvalfjordur and converted it into a whaling station. Between 1948 and 1975, an average of 250 Fin, 65 Sei, and 78 Sperm Whales were taken annually, as well as a few Blue and Humpback Whales. Unlike the majority of commercial whaling at the time, this operation was based on the sale of frozen meat and meat meal, rather than on oil.
Finnmark In February 1864, the Norwegian Svend Foyn set sail from Tønsberg, south of Oslo, in the schooner-rigged, steam-driven whale catcher Spes et Fides (Hope & Faith) on a voyage north to Finnmark to hunt rorquals such as the Blue and Fin Whale. He had her fitted out like a minor man-of-war, with seven guns on her forecastle, each firing a harpoon and grenade separately. Several whales were seen, but only four were captured. He tried again in 1866 and 1867, but he could not catch a single whale in the former season and only caught one whale the latter, while two others were killed but lost.